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December 08, 2008

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BuckTracker: More Young Guns

This fall, my home state of Minnesota took the admirable step—in my opinion—of lowering the minimum hunting age for big game seasons. This year, hunters as young as 10 could participate in the firearms deer season. They must be accompanied (read; kept at arm’s length) by a licensed adult mentor. The young hunter did not need to have passed a hunter’s safety class, but would need to do so by age 12.

Just this weekend a friend (my daughter’s former 2nd grade teacher) pulled me aside at a dance recital and asked “do you think this is a good idea? Letting 10-year olds hunt?” I said that, providing the 10-year old was eager, physically big enough to handle a gun, and escorted by a mentor of sound judgment, the idea was a good one, indeed. Better yet, I could point to an excellent example.


Brooke Johnson is an 11-year old 5th-grader who attends the same school my kids do; Rushford-Peterson elementary. Brooke and her father Brent were hunting Minnesota’s first firearms deer season when Brooke shot this fine 6-point buck. My young daughter (also named Brooke) was standing by me when Brooke told me she’d shot her first deer. After we congratulated her, my Brooke tugged at my sleeve and said “I want to do that next year!” Well I would like her to do that next year to, and I thank Brooke Johnson—and the Minnesota DNR—for inspiring my young daughter in such fine fashion!


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How awesome is that!!! What a great picture. There is nothing better than having your children either continue or even start the "hunting with family" tradition.


This is great! Just the things kids need is time with Dad. For dads who hunt, encourage your kids to hunting early and hunt often. You can just see the pride on this young ladie's face for her accomplishment. Congrats, Brooke on a fine specimen.

Ray Cummings

Age should not be a factor in getting a license. I have hunted since I was 6 (58 years ago) when I shot my first squirrel. I do however strongly disagree on letting ANY hunter carry a firearm without hunter safety training. Letting a youngster handle a high powered rifle with out this training is asking for disaster.


I agree wholeheartedly. My son is 4, and I can't wait to take him with me. My challenge will be convincing my wife it's a good idea. She doesn't even want him to know I hunt, saying the boy is "too young." Hopefully she'll get used to the idea over the next few years, and I'll be able to get him out there with me by the time he's 7 or 8. Anybody else faced a similar challenge?


For those of you who posted about not seeing many deer..........

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters harvested a record 57,529 deer during the recent November firearm season, according to preliminary results by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The November firearm season harvest breaks the previous record, set last year, by 8,100 (16 percent).
The highest firearm harvest was in southeast Nebraska, where 14,096 deer were taken, an increase of 26 percent from last year. Every permit in that district included a bonus tag.
Kit Hams, the Commission’s big game program manager, attributes the sharp increase to the issuance this year of 85,000 bonus tags that allow the harvest of antlerless white-tailed deer.
“This is good news,” he said. “It’s definitely what we were trying to accomplish with the bonus tags.”
The goal of the bonus tags is to thin the antlerless whitetail herd, especially in eastern Nebraska, where crop-damage complaints and deer-vehicle collisions are common.
The 2008 November firearm deer harvest totals by district, and percentage of increase from 2007, are:
Southeast, 14,096, 26 percent; Northeast, 12,900, 11 percent; Southwest, 6,223, 17 percent; South-central, 9,142, 8 percent; North-central, 9,428, 20 percent; and Panhandle, 5,740, 17 percent.
The Commission’s objective to control the expanding deer population continues. The muzzleloader season is Dec. 1-31 and the January season is Jan. 1-15, 2009.
Hams expects the total harvest from all deer seasons this year to be 75,000-80,000, which would be a record. Last year’s total harvest was 68,500.
Following are some deer hunting reminders from the Commission:
-- November firearm deer season bonus tags may not be used during any other season. Muzzleloader bonus tags may be used only in December. Youth, landowner, and season choice bonus tags may be used in December or January.
-- Deer hunters with permits that have bonus tags should remember that the tags may be filled in any order.
-- Hunters still may take advantage of the Deer Exchange. It is a program that allows for the transfer of deer meat from hunters to people who want to receive it. Go online to OutdoorNebraska.org for more information or to sign up for free. Nearly 1,000 people have signed up so far.
-- Hunters should read the 2008 Nebraska Big Game Guide before purchasing permits. The guide is available where permits are sold, as well as online at OutdoorNebraska.org.
-- Permits may be purchased at Commission permitting offices or online at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Now, with record numbers of whitetail deer being taken, we saw nothing but mule deer while bird hunting, and lots of them. Counted 15 mulies in one bunch at sunrise in a wheat field, and 16 more standing along a ridgeline shortly after, and many more in smaller bunches, just in one morning.
So, in December, we'll be muzzle-loading early and late, and bird hunting in mid-day.
Good luck to you and yours, take a kid hunting.

mike degen

thats awsome something wisconsin should look into.there is nothing better than takeing a kid hunting and showing them the ropes.


I think its a great idea. there should be no minimum age to hunt. But there should be an age they have to reach before they can hunt by themselves. i got my license when i was 8. I didn't get one until i was 12 but i have hunted every year since i got my license. I'm now 23 I don't have a kid but i plan on taking my 7 year old nephew hunting during the youth season next year if he can pass his hunter safety course this year. Even if you don't have one take someones kid hunting and share the passion.


That is awesome! I think getting kids involved in the great outdoors at an early age is very important. We need more young people to carry on the great heritage of hunting and fishing. Just today my three year old son said "daddy I want to go deer hunting with you." I've been wondering if he would be interested in it but I would never push him into doing it. When he asked me I couldn't help but smile!



Congrats sweetheart..... you look very very proud, and deservingly so. Your daddy should be proud of you, and tickled pink that you are a hunter, like he is. Keep up the enthusiasm and keep hunting sweetie. You have a lot to learn about nature and animals, but that will come with time and you will appreciate every moment you are out in the treestand. God Bless!


Nice. I love to see these. Looks like she got with an old 20 gauge to boot.

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