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Bill Defeated in Montana to Lower Hunting Age From 12 to 10

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February 17, 2011

Bill Defeated in Montana to Lower Hunting Age From 12 to 10

By Chad Love

A bill seeking to lower Montana's legal hunting age from 12 to 10 died after a 50-50 deadlocked vote.

From this story on kaj18.com:
A bill that would have lowered Montana's legal hunting age from 12 to 10, failed to pass the Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday when the vote on the measure ended in a 50-50 tie. The bill would also have set up additional requirements for those under 12, including having an adult present while hunting, with only one gun between the two of them. Supporters argued that kids are ready to hunt at different ages, and the change would have benefited those who are ready.

But Billings Democratic Representative Virginia Court, told her colleagues that ten is too young to hunt big-game animals. "As parents and grandparents, we have all witnessed the excitement and nervousness of a child," explained Court. "Combining these emotional movements with a high powered weapon is a challenge for any young child," Court said. Lawmakers were told that 37 states currently have a lower hunting age than Montana does.

What are your thoughts? Is 10 too young to fully grasp the responsibility of big-game hunting, or is it never too early to introduce a kid to the sport?

Comments (13)

Top Rated
All Comments
from themadflyfisher wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Yes, some kids ARE ready to hunt and handle high power rifles at earlier ages, And some kids(like myself) could drive dump trucks at 12.. but not all. I know I've been in the woods with plenty of 12 year olds that have been out with their dads and grandads long before a rifle ever went in their hands, and they still don't FULLY grasp the POWER that is in their hands. I personally think 12 is fine. I could see small game(squirrels) hunting at 10 to get them started with having, handling, and walking around with their own gun like a .22. In my experiences you can teach and preach till you're blue in the face but until they accually get the gun in their hands and walk around the woods with it they don't fully get it. especially when some game enters the scenario. I've just seen too many kids get soo exited when they see that first deer in the woods that everything they were taught goes right out the window. and yes the parent should be right there to handle it, but as we all know that's not always the case.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

My 5 year performed well during a coyote hunt, much like a dog trainer with their dog I wanted him to come here and sit quietly, armed with a Daisy Lever action he had a great time however he was scolded for taking a pot shot at a circling buzzard. The buzzards tend to find me whenever I chamber my 870, it's like a dinner bell. My son's cousin got her first deer at 8, so how would it feel if an 8 year old girl harvest a 5.5 year old buck off your stand in youth hunt before you get a crack at what would be your first mature buck. Would you be inclined notify state legislators of the travesty. Once again I will have to revisit the game laws because I don't even know if we have an age requirement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cTXn wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I was allowed to start hunting with a gun at 10, and didn't start hunting by myself for 4 or 5 years after that. Before age 10 I was a tag-along/ bird-dog, and was only allowed to shoot at the range. I see no problem with allowing kids to start hunting at 10 or maybe even younger as long as they are properly supervised and educated in hunter's safety.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from finnyk wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I personally feel that it is a good question, but not one that can be answered with legislation of a minimum age to hunt. My son tagged along with me when he was eight. At nine he was carrying a lever action .30-.30 and almost got his first shot at a deer. At 10, I anticipate that he will be sitting on stand with me and either hit or miss his first deer with his .243. He has been taught from age 2 (with plastic airsoft guns at that point) the proper way to check a safety, hand a weapon to another person, carry a weapon safely, etc. However; no, a young'un that hasn't been taught all those things should not be entrusted with any firearm for the first time on a deer hunt. The first experience with a deer in the woods at that age should NOT be, "here is the gun, shoot the deer, and be careful." It should be a different type of lesson. When my son observed me kill a buck for the first time, it was a lesson on the sanctity of life and respect for life, even if it is an animal. When he almost got his first shot at a deer this year, it was a lesson in patience. The woods are not the place for a lesson in firearm safety. They are the place for these other lessons as a basis for the kids to then learn the nuts and bolts of the sport. Is legislation required for me to determine when my kid is ready? No.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from finnyk wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

OOPS! He was taught from age 3 ... typo.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I think 12 was a reasonable age limit, and am glad it will continue at that level. I do believe states that still require a youngster to be 14 in order to hunt big game should lower their age limit to 12. Wyoming and North Dakota are two states that come to mind.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

What a shame. If the child is capable they should have the opportunity.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

"As parents and grandparents, we have all witnessed the excitement and nervousness of a child," explained Court. "Combining these emotional movements with a high powered weapon is a challenge for any young child,"

Double doofus points. One for using that classic scare the hoplophobes phrase "high powered weapon" (what power level is enough to scare your average liberal?), two for the idea that a 10 year old is more apt to not control their emotions and nerves than a 12 year old. Hell, crusty old geezers lose it and moose up on the hunt sometimes, so we can't really be putting arbitrary age limits out there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

This from Montana? Seriously? My Daughter shot her first deer and turkey @ 10, my Son got his first deer last fall, he's 9. Now, I wouldn't dream of putting them in the woods ALONE, but with me by their side, it's been just fine. I seriously can't believe Montana is this way. Too bad.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattB wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I had a trap line trapping rabbits that were destroying our crops at age 5 in Texas. I walked two miles of fence every day checking the traps. I used a single shot Ithaca lever action. Killed my first deer at 10. Some kids are ready at 10 and some are not. Parents should make that decision not the state.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from The-Dead-Of-Night wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

My best friend and I have been hunting since we were 8. His dad taught us. Every few weekends, more often during the summer, we'd go up to northern NH (Pittsburgh and Jackson)and hunt. Hell, every night while up there we'd sleep with our rifles (we both had .22s at that age). Before we were 8, his dad was bringing us up with him, but no guns. We watched him shoot a moose.
Now look. If two 8 year-olds can go hunting where there are moose, bear, deer, and coyotes, then that shows the capability of properly trained children to hunt.
Shane, I've also seen old guys loose it. My buddy's dad went berserk when he shot at a moose and missed. The next day, he nailed one through the heart.
It doesn't matter your age, what matters is being properly trained, supervised, and observed before being let out. Even veteran hunters slip up sometimes.
So this is directed at you, U.S. government: LIFT THE AGE LIMITS ON HUNTING.
Maybe not gun ownership, (inner city thugs would get too liberal) but come on. Not allowing kids to hunt is ridiculous. Think about your own hobbies: what if you had been barred from them when you first started out.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The-Dead-Of-Night wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

***NOTE***
Though we slept with our rifles, we made sure they were unloaded. THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GUN OWNERSHIP: store the gun unloaded, and store ammo away separately.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from all wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

we have all witnessed the excitement and nervousness of a child," explained Court. "Combining these emotional movements Chaussures Converse
with a high powered weapon is a challenge for any young child," Court said. Lawmakers were told that 37 states currently have a lower hunting age than Montana does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

What a shame. If the child is capable they should have the opportunity.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

Yes, some kids ARE ready to hunt and handle high power rifles at earlier ages, And some kids(like myself) could drive dump trucks at 12.. but not all. I know I've been in the woods with plenty of 12 year olds that have been out with their dads and grandads long before a rifle ever went in their hands, and they still don't FULLY grasp the POWER that is in their hands. I personally think 12 is fine. I could see small game(squirrels) hunting at 10 to get them started with having, handling, and walking around with their own gun like a .22. In my experiences you can teach and preach till you're blue in the face but until they accually get the gun in their hands and walk around the woods with it they don't fully get it. especially when some game enters the scenario. I've just seen too many kids get soo exited when they see that first deer in the woods that everything they were taught goes right out the window. and yes the parent should be right there to handle it, but as we all know that's not always the case.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

This from Montana? Seriously? My Daughter shot her first deer and turkey @ 10, my Son got his first deer last fall, he's 9. Now, I wouldn't dream of putting them in the woods ALONE, but with me by their side, it's been just fine. I seriously can't believe Montana is this way. Too bad.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

My 5 year performed well during a coyote hunt, much like a dog trainer with their dog I wanted him to come here and sit quietly, armed with a Daisy Lever action he had a great time however he was scolded for taking a pot shot at a circling buzzard. The buzzards tend to find me whenever I chamber my 870, it's like a dinner bell. My son's cousin got her first deer at 8, so how would it feel if an 8 year old girl harvest a 5.5 year old buck off your stand in youth hunt before you get a crack at what would be your first mature buck. Would you be inclined notify state legislators of the travesty. Once again I will have to revisit the game laws because I don't even know if we have an age requirement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from finnyk wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I personally feel that it is a good question, but not one that can be answered with legislation of a minimum age to hunt. My son tagged along with me when he was eight. At nine he was carrying a lever action .30-.30 and almost got his first shot at a deer. At 10, I anticipate that he will be sitting on stand with me and either hit or miss his first deer with his .243. He has been taught from age 2 (with plastic airsoft guns at that point) the proper way to check a safety, hand a weapon to another person, carry a weapon safely, etc. However; no, a young'un that hasn't been taught all those things should not be entrusted with any firearm for the first time on a deer hunt. The first experience with a deer in the woods at that age should NOT be, "here is the gun, shoot the deer, and be careful." It should be a different type of lesson. When my son observed me kill a buck for the first time, it was a lesson on the sanctity of life and respect for life, even if it is an animal. When he almost got his first shot at a deer this year, it was a lesson in patience. The woods are not the place for a lesson in firearm safety. They are the place for these other lessons as a basis for the kids to then learn the nuts and bolts of the sport. Is legislation required for me to determine when my kid is ready? No.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

"As parents and grandparents, we have all witnessed the excitement and nervousness of a child," explained Court. "Combining these emotional movements with a high powered weapon is a challenge for any young child,"

Double doofus points. One for using that classic scare the hoplophobes phrase "high powered weapon" (what power level is enough to scare your average liberal?), two for the idea that a 10 year old is more apt to not control their emotions and nerves than a 12 year old. Hell, crusty old geezers lose it and moose up on the hunt sometimes, so we can't really be putting arbitrary age limits out there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cTXn wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I was allowed to start hunting with a gun at 10, and didn't start hunting by myself for 4 or 5 years after that. Before age 10 I was a tag-along/ bird-dog, and was only allowed to shoot at the range. I see no problem with allowing kids to start hunting at 10 or maybe even younger as long as they are properly supervised and educated in hunter's safety.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from finnyk wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

OOPS! He was taught from age 3 ... typo.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattB wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I had a trap line trapping rabbits that were destroying our crops at age 5 in Texas. I walked two miles of fence every day checking the traps. I used a single shot Ithaca lever action. Killed my first deer at 10. Some kids are ready at 10 and some are not. Parents should make that decision not the state.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from The-Dead-Of-Night wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

***NOTE***
Though we slept with our rifles, we made sure they were unloaded. THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GUN OWNERSHIP: store the gun unloaded, and store ammo away separately.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from all wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

we have all witnessed the excitement and nervousness of a child," explained Court. "Combining these emotional movements Chaussures Converse
with a high powered weapon is a challenge for any young child," Court said. Lawmakers were told that 37 states currently have a lower hunting age than Montana does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from The-Dead-Of-Night wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

My best friend and I have been hunting since we were 8. His dad taught us. Every few weekends, more often during the summer, we'd go up to northern NH (Pittsburgh and Jackson)and hunt. Hell, every night while up there we'd sleep with our rifles (we both had .22s at that age). Before we were 8, his dad was bringing us up with him, but no guns. We watched him shoot a moose.
Now look. If two 8 year-olds can go hunting where there are moose, bear, deer, and coyotes, then that shows the capability of properly trained children to hunt.
Shane, I've also seen old guys loose it. My buddy's dad went berserk when he shot at a moose and missed. The next day, he nailed one through the heart.
It doesn't matter your age, what matters is being properly trained, supervised, and observed before being let out. Even veteran hunters slip up sometimes.
So this is directed at you, U.S. government: LIFT THE AGE LIMITS ON HUNTING.
Maybe not gun ownership, (inner city thugs would get too liberal) but come on. Not allowing kids to hunt is ridiculous. Think about your own hobbies: what if you had been barred from them when you first started out.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 3 years 8 weeks ago

I think 12 was a reasonable age limit, and am glad it will continue at that level. I do believe states that still require a youngster to be 14 in order to hunt big game should lower their age limit to 12. Wyoming and North Dakota are two states that come to mind.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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