How Old?

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NorthStar
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How Old?

Postby NorthStar » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:33 pm

We live in the country and are a walk away from private land that we have access to hunt. My 10 year old is getting really excited about the idea of hunting rabbits and squirrels.

How do I know when he is ready to hunt alone? Obviously I need to go with him a few times to teach safety and ethics but when should I start to feel good about letting him hunt on his own?

I understand that all kids are different and that age is not always a determining factor but I value the opinion of those on this site and I am hoping I can get some good insight.

Thanks!


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Re: How Old?

Postby Ghost Hunter » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:39 pm

Gun safety is an must.
Knowledge of area.
Confidence is a big thing.
Knowing directions.
Compass or GPS a must depends on how big of an area we are talking about.
Depends on how many other hunters are out there.
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Re: How Old?

Postby SidewayZ » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:42 pm

I think it really depends on how he reacts to your teaching/training. How much respect he has for a weapons, rules and animals.

I have four children, and I think I would not be comfortable with them being alone hunting until 13 or 14 years of age with anything more than a bebee gun. But age isn't as much as a factor as maturity and discipline.

I would also try to observe from a far and see how he makes decisions or acts when he doesn't think your paying attention.

In the end I think it just depends on a variety of factors, most of all when you feel comfortable with him doing his thing, that is probably when he is ready.
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Re: How Old?

Postby Horizontal Hunter » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:09 pm

Ghost Hunter wrote:Gun safety is an must.
Knowledge of area.
Confidence is a big thing.
Knowing directions.
Compass or GPS a must depends on how big of an area we are talking about.
Depends on how many other hunters are out there.


I would add basic survival. Every kid that age should know how to use sticks and leaves to make a debris shelter in the event that they end up in the woods overnight.

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Re: How Old?

Postby NorthStar » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:08 am

Fantastic comments! A lot of good stuff here. The area we would allow him to hunt himself is a 10min walk from my front door. My neghbor has a 100 acres and 75 of it is corn/bean field. The other 25 is an island of woods. I thought this would be the perfect place for him to start.
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Re: How Old?

Postby Boogieman1 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:11 am

What kinda firepower we talking here? It's one thing for a pellet gun but a whole diff ball game with 22's and shotguns. Gun safety a must, Childs ability to know right from wrong, a basic understanding of life and death and demonstrates the ability to make smart decisions. Start em with a pellet gun in the back yard on the local tweety birds and see how he does.
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Re: How Old?

Postby NorthStar » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:16 am

Boogieman1 wrote:What kinda firepower we talking here? It's one thing for a pellet gun but a whole diff ball game with 22's and shotguns. Gun safety a must, Childs ability to know right from wrong, a basic understanding of life and death and demonstrates the ability to make smart decisions. Start em with a pellet gun in the back yard on the local tweety birds and see how he does.


Well, I have been shooting a 22 with him at the house but a pellet gun sounds like a good place to start. Do you recommend a certain model that would be good for a younger kid?
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Re: How Old?

Postby Boogieman1 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:39 am

NorthStar wrote:
Boogieman1 wrote:What kinda firepower we talking here? It's one thing for a pellet gun but a whole diff ball game with 22's and shotguns. Gun safety a must, Childs ability to know right from wrong, a basic understanding of life and death and demonstrates the ability to make smart decisions. Start em with a pellet gun in the back yard on the local tweety birds and see how he does.


Well, I have been shooting a 22 with him at the house but a pellet gun sounds like a good place to start. Do you recommend a certain model that would be good for a younger kid?


I haven't baught one in years. But from what I have heard they have came along way since we were kids. I recommend u get a break over, not a co2 or pump.
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Re: How Old?

Postby DEERSLAYER » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:28 pm

Unfortunately, these days it seems ethics and making a quick humane kill seems to get left off lists like this. Safety is number one, but concern for the animal's suffering should be right behind that.

At one time I thought using a pellet gun was a step along the stairway to being a hunter (and perhaps a high quality pellet gun could be), but now I think that if he/she can't be completely trusted with a firearm which is likely to make more quick kills like a .22 rifle or possibly a shotgun then the child is not ready to hunt alone. I think a lot of people let their pride get in the way of their decision making process because they want their child to be a hunter so bad and of course want them to have fun hunting asap. At 12 years old I think I was barely ready and I have still not met a child that I think was as ready as I was at that age. Including my friends at that age. Their parents thought they were ready and even though there were never any major incidences because of what those friends did there were definitely quite a few very bad decisions made by those friends. Some of those kids still use the same poor judgement as adults because they weren't ready to be on their own and I won't hunt with them because of it. Those friends also made a ton of terrible decisions when it came to taking humane shots on animals and that really shows to this day. Another reason I won't hunt with some of them.

I think it's better to possibly wait a year or two longer than necessary than it is to jump the gun and allow it too soon. I think a lot of kids that have proven to be responsible could be ready by 14. Some younger, but I have seen several kids that weren't ready and I still see it in them as adults too.
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Re: How Old?

Postby Rich M » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:32 am

I agree with the training and obedience aspects for sure.

My dad started me off at about 5 and I would hunt with him - carrying my mom's 20-ga double. Dad was always by my side... Had a BB gun at about 6 or 7, was bow & rifle deer hunting alone at 8... Had to wait until 12 to hunt ducks & geese cause they implemented license ages - before that I had my own license then they changed it to 12 for youths. We did a lot of bird hunting.

How old seems to be dependent on the individual. If you feel that your son is capable of roaming the woods with a gun and not shooting anyone's house or anyone, then seems like he's old enough. I think many states have a 16-yr old restriction on young hunters by themselves, otherwise many states have a within voice distance requirement from an adult.

Check your local laws and see what they allow.

I'm wondering the same stuff regarding my grandson - he's 3 so I've got a few years but he's a city kid. I'll be fishing with him and hoping for the obedience required to teach him how to shoot and hunt. Then when he's ready I'll get a small lease in GA and we'll do it all - till with the 4 wheeler, fertilize, plant seeds, throw minerals, set the feeder up, put cameras out, and build a shooting box. I want to make it fun, informative, skill building, and hopefully exciting. Then he will shoot his first couple of deer w/grampy & grammy in the blind.

If he likes that I may try to get him into ducks, doves, or such. We don't eat squirrels or rabbits any more so we won't be hunting them.
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Re: How Old?

Postby whitetailassasin » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:55 am

First I'd suggest you check the laws first. Some states have requirements until a child is of certain age. I also believe knowledge of how to load, clean, unload, proper way to carry and aim a gun are very important. Ethics unfortunately are something we pass in hopes that they continue to follow them, but its really something each person polices. I also believe maturity and respect go hand in hand. Once you've felt they are ready, give them a try, the only way we learn is by making mistakes and by those before us. Good luck.
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Re: How Old?

Postby Clink » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:08 pm

I started with a bb gun with dad. He treated that thing like it was a 50 cal. Didnt take long for me to either. The bb gun is a great start and he'll feel great going off on his own with it. Stress firearm safety as strictly with the bb gun and then one day when you feel confident you can give him the real thing.

There's kids out there who could safely start at 10 and others who I wouldnt trust at 20. Not worth the risk if its not time.
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Re: How Old?

Postby Lockdown » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:05 pm

Like others said a BB gun or pellet gun would be a good start. Everyone covered all the important stuff, but going along with safety is knowing exactly what you're shooting at AND WHAT IS BEYOND YOUR TARGET. A couple years ago my Dad was bowhunting a private property we've hunted for years. We always park on a field road in a low spot. Well the landowner dropped his grandson off at the main road and they didn't know he was hunting out there. The kid started rifling rounds off through the trees and Dad said bullets were flying all around him!! He said he jumped the last 8-10 feet to get out of the tree and hid behind it.

If it was my kid I'd tell him if I see him use that gun irresponsibly it's getting taken away for a long long time.
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Re: How Old?

Postby RDubs44 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:50 am

I can only speak to how my dad taught me.

At the age of 10 I started deer hunting w my dad. I would sit w him in the woods. Watch how he handled the weapon and carried himself out in the field. I would wear blaze orange and sit side by side. Got the basics of hunting.

At the age of 12, I could hunt so I took gun safety course with much more indepth knowledge of regulations and proper etiquette.

I couldn't gun hunt by myself til the age of 14. I started bowhunting about 15 years old.

At the age of 12 I took a boat safety course as well so I could take out my dads boat by myself and go fishing. My parents required me to pass swimming lessons to a certain level for my benefit in case situation would arise on the water.

My fondest memories as a child were when I was able to explore a lake, river or my uncles woods solo. Kinda of a right a passage into "manhood" persay. The gain of respect from my parents.

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