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November 19, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Should Tweens Hunt Alone?

From ParentDish:

The state of Georgia doesn't require hunters under the age of 16 to be licensed, but it does require unlicensed minors to hunt with an adult. However, kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can legally hunt without supervision if they complete a hunter education course. And hey, if you're short on time, you can take the class online.

Huh? What? Let me get this straight -- you're going to give a 13-year-old a shotgun and let them go into the woods ALL BY THEMSELVES? After they take a class on the Internet?

Okay, the source here has obviously made up her mind. But the question is a fair one: Should tweens be allowed to hunt unsupervised?



Although to a certain extent the writer has a point, the majority of 13 year old kids should probably be supervised when hunting. On the other hand any age restriction is, by its very nature, arbitrary. There are plenty of 13 year old kids I trust with a gun and plenty of adults I wouldn't. The fact that we don't have a rash of teenagers dying in hunting related shooting accidents in GA seems to show that perhaps the concerned writer has other things they should be worried about.


There are some adults that should not leave home without supervison, so where do you draw the line? Common sense says, "when they are ready" and that is different for each person.Still, since we are nation of lawyers thee has to be something concrete and I think it should be a certification from a NRA instructor, rather than some age. Kids mature at various ages,I have met some very responsible youths and I could not tell you their ages by their actions, they knew their rifles well, shot well etc.then I have met some 35 yearolds that I would not want to have a rubber band.
I believe a NRA instructor looking a young person in the eye means more to me.

I'm in school right now

I myself am 15 and i have to say that it doesn't bother me at all having to hunt with my dad because he teaches me alot of things i wouldn't have figured out on my own.


Dr. Ralph

I'll have to go with the general concensus here and say I would feel safe letting my youngest child loose with any firearm at 10. My oldest child is 23 and still not responsible enough to be trusted with any sharp object... we are all individuals we are not created equally.

jersey pig

when i was 14 i was hunting by myself in a tree stand. legal at the time (dont know if it still is) and was considered completely acceptable.

then again things were a little different and i had a safety class that was 3 nights and a full day under my belt.

not so sure i would trust the current crop of juveniles with the same responsibility though.

Will Pogue

I was homeschooled through middle and high school, and as a result had more time to hunt than the average kid my age. I often went out at 12 or 13 by myself to deer hunt. I feel that if the child has shown himself responsible and safe while hunting with others, he should be allowed to go hunting by himself. I do think that maturity varies from person to person, and the priveledge of hunting alone should be determined by the parents/ guardians.


In my state you can hunt by yourself when your fifteen and after you obtain an FID and go through a 2 day Hunter Education Course. But to be honest I don't like going hunting a lone it's more fun to go with someone.

I've seen some pretty dumb college seniors in the woods before. They should be supervised just as much as any highly responsible middle-schooler.


I was allowed to hunt on my own and with same aged friends when I was 14. I grew up in a military family, and all my hunting friends grew up around guns and hunting. Their parents and mine wouldn't have allowed us to go alone or with each other unless they felt we were responsible. We had to prove ourselves first. Our parents talked to each other and knew each of us personally.

Problem is, nowadays, if there is an accident with a young hunter the law falls hard on the parents. Accidents can and do happen, and are rare, but our police and courts and lawyers sure can take things overboard.

I like Nate's comment about being out with his father ... both father and son learn a lot. Memories for a lifetime.


The idea of a youngster taking the safety class online is just a tad worrisome. The requirements vary from state to state; the state I grew up in required a 3-hour class and then a 2-hour hands-on, with evaluation in handling a .22 and a shotgun. You could hunt small game unsupervised at 14 and big gamme at 16. The state in which I currently live requires 16 HOURS before anybody of any age gets a license, even if you have a valid license from another state. Hooey! Way to encourage the sport, Bucko.

I "borrowed" an older cousin's deer tag when I was 14. Was I a menace in the woods? No. But I was too young to have the necessary patience to be hunting big game by myself.

I do think the demonstrated proficiency in gun safety should be an "in person" requirement, but beyond that, I see no reason why a 13- or 14-year old should not be left to his or her parents' judgment as to how they hunt.

Brian T

Tell all that to the lady in Washington who got shot by a 13 year old bear hunter who was supervised by a 16 year old.

You can't....she's dead

Dr. Ralph

Familiarity with weapons is the key... if you take your 6 year old into the woods and teach him gun safety on a regular basis by ten or twelve he is ready to go it alone. Some of the most dangerous people I have been around are adults who purchase weapons without ever having fired a shot and hit the woods.

D. A.

Is this not a question that should be answered by parents - not underachieving web brousers ?

D. A. Patnode
Hunter Education Instructor
NH Fish & Game
southwestern NH


Its a touchy subject because you can't group every tween as not responsable and you cant say that every tween is responsable. Being 16 I hate the sterotype that all teenagers and tweens are irresponsable and even if we are responsable we get blamed for everything.


If the kid is resposible enough that his or her parents can trust them to go out unsupervised with a leathal weapon the law should not hold them back.

I did they can, i didnt shoot miyself

jerry k

i think it is a major responsibility issue but even the most responsible twelve year old probably does not have the level of maturity to be alone in the woods. there are alot of kids that can handle this responsibility and then again there are kids that would not be able to be in the field by themselves. im 16 myself and have been taught hunting saftey lessons from my father from when the times he first carried me into the woods and what it comes down to is this kid is responsible and mature with a firearm.

Mc. Squizzy

It really should depend on the parents being good parents. They should judge if their kid is safe enough to go. They should also go with them multiple times before they let them go on their own.if the kid is safe then let them go!


If you aren't deemed responsible enough by society to drive a car with supervision, then you shouldn't be in the woods with a firearm alone. Actually the biggest issue I really have with 12 year olds hunting alone is whether they are actually going to drag that buck out of the woods or give up on it and leave it to rot. There's not too many 12 year olds that I know that can drag a mature deer out of the woods by themselves.


I think it should be up to the parents. I dont let my 13 year old go by herself but when we're hunting together I will sit her in a spot and move around her to move deer etc. I have no problem with that.

To Brian T about the woman in Washington....that happens to be an instance of a teen shooting someone, the vast majority is adults shooting the infamous, "I thought it was a" animal. Ive never seen a human that looked like a deer, bear, turkey, grouse. We have antler restrictions yet two days ago, a hunter was shot because the shooter thought it was a buck...well, must be the victim grew at least a 3 pt rack?????..If you are sure of your target, which is what I teach my kids, you wont shoot an "I thought it was a".


Chad - I suppose it's really 2 questions:

Should the government allow tweens to hunt alone? YES

Should parents allow tweens to hunt alone? NO - unless the child demonstrates a suitable level of skill, safety and maturity.


well im 13 and i think that its okay
for 13 year olds to hunt by them selves as long as they have a phone with them.


in my experiences with my nephews anyome under the age of 16 is just too young to be out there by themselves...even taking a hunter safety course they just dont know enough about gun and hunting safety to be alone safely in the woods....they need that adult supervision or they just might make a fatal mistake.

Mike Diehl

Yes of course they can be allowed to hunt unsupervised. Naturally a parent has to know whether or not their son or daughter has demonstrated the responsibility and woodcraft to do it, but certainly many 13 year olds may be ready.

Mike in Kansas

I believe the government should stay out of it and the parents should hold that judgement. Accidents happen sometimes and it seems to me that when one child gets injured or killed everyone freaks out and creates a new rule or law to govern what they were doing. Let the parents be responsible for their kids...If they didnt teach them well enough and they mess up....nail the parents.

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