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What age to start hunting

916 Views 40 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  Will Beararms
Just curious what age everyone thinks it’s appropriate to take your kids hunting, either them just to watch or do the shooting? My son is 6 and not sure when to get him into hunting and actually shooting. Yesterday I was going and he really wanted to go so I let him tag along. Of course he was rather anxious/bored for the first couple of hours sitting there. He got excited once the deer started moving, but then he was moving too much and had a doe I was going to shoot see us and ran off. Still a success with him seeing deer even though I didn’t shoot one.

Of course, to even think about letting him hunt, need to teach him to shoot and all the safety aspects of it. Thought about getting him a BB gun for Christmas and learn the safety and shooting stuff before moving to a 22 then progressing from there as I see fit. What are you alls thoughts?
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The legal age in CO is 12. Oldest turned 12 on November 1, shot a Deer on November 2. Youngest shot his first Elk at 12. They are 19 and 21 now, still hunt and they still love it. I took them first when they were about 6. By 10, they were walking along with a small game tag and a suppressed 10/22.
 

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I was shooting dove with a 410 single shot at 7. Others in my extended family were making systematic failures in judgement (gun handling and life) into their 30s.... 2 between 16-18 pointed loaded guns at other teens to assert dominance.

It depends on the kid. Also if they'll wear ear pro get them enhancing ear buds and ideally a suppressor and it's safer to start earlier.

I've been asked to promise to teach relatives kids to shoot... "If and when I feel that's a good idea and you do too"
 

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i first took my son out at 10, kind of the excepted age, no gun of course. in our greater family.. he was old enough to sit still but the weather was really cold back then, so i didn't last more than 6 hours myself then. he hung in there pretty good for 4 or 5 years, then i couldn't get out much after that. my dad took him pheasant hunting for a bunch of years, when he was 14 and on, he did much better with birds.
 

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I'm going to skip past the age thing and address one topic.

Hunting/fishing/etc, when you are taking a young one with, it's about them, period.

Not that your post had anything in it to state otherwise, just popped a memory bubble.

I grew up blessed with outdoor opportunities and experiences.

When, as a young man, I got the change to take some 6/7 year olds fishing for the 1st time, I made a good choice, and a bad choice.

I decided to take them to a bluegill (pan fish) lake, as they offer constant action (I didn't fish them, was a walleye/trout fisherman).

The bad choice? Beside running the boat motor, I also ran my own fishing line. Anyone who's ever fished a true bluegill lake knows the time between dropping a line and getting a bite is measured in breaths, not minutes. As I tried to tend to 2 kiddie lines (bait & release, pull fish in, unhook, re-bait...) and fighting to get to my rod (because as a serious fisherman, you always had your line in) I grew quite frustrated. Then I realized, Hey this is about them. I reeled my line in and enjoyed a fantastic afternoon.

Later when I took youth out for roughed grouse, white-tail deer, ducks, etc, I remembered this early lesson and never had a bad experience.

Heck, I let my #1 deer stand be used many times over the years by first time hunters, who more often than not took their first white-tail off my stand (a number of them being overseen by their grandfathers, the same folks who had mentored me).

just a thought
 

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By 6 I was hunting with my stepdad. For Christmas when I was 9, I got a Sears bolt action 410 shotgun. After that, a pocketful of shells and across the pasture I'd go hunting by myself.
My, things have changed.

My own sons started hunting about 12.
 

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we were out burning stumps today at one of my girl's property, she said her boy, only 5 was pointing out deer rubs and said he is really getting antsy to hunt them. he is really into archery, and although his bow is nowhere near strong enough to hunt deer with, 15 #, i don't think we're talking too many years in the future. he's a funny, and bright kid, he is really into tracking already, and pretty good at picking mushrooms. daughter really has him on the right track. 21 grandkids, and he's the only on this path...
 

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Here is my oldest, at 12, with his 1st and 2nd big game animals. It was about 10F when he shot his Elk. I did most of the field dressing, but he helped. I have a photo of him cutting roasts into steaks from the same animal. TC Encore in .308 Winchester with a Burris 2x7. They had to shoot prone, sitting and kneeling off sticks at a paper plate at 100, 200 and 300 3 rounds, 100% hit rate, before they were allowed to shoot at game. They both fill their tags on a regular basis.
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i've noticed people talking some young ages for hunting, less than 12 which is as far as i know, the legal age to get a hunting license in my State. i was ready to hunt by 10 years old but had to wait until i was 12, sure wish i could have "legally" hunted earlier back then.
 

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If you start out just introducing them to guns and respecting them. If they're laying around will they just walk by or pick it up a nd play with it ,etc. The more they are exposed to the gun and taught to realize they are dangerous but they may get interested to the point of wanting to hunt. Not every kid is inclined that way, but may be more interested in target shooting. Age to start-depends on each kid not what you want. I know a kid on a farm that started hunting at 10 and got a buck all by himself no one with him. Be Careful they little once.
 

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I remember when my dad took me hunting for squirrels and rabbits at six, maybe eight years old. Deer several years later.
No minimum in Texas.
Under 12, must be closely accompanied by a non-hunting, over 18, adult. 12-16, need a hunting certificate and accompanied by an adult.
I was 14 and hunted rabbits and squirrels alone with a single shot 22 short rifle. Not sure, but I don't think there were any restrictions then.
 
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It depends on why one is hunting.

If to put food on the table, then whenever the kid can prove that he or she can safely handle a firearm and be proficient enough with it to get the job done quickly, accurately and humanely.

If hunting for a trophy to mount on the wall....................
 
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I stared them shooting very young. So young they could not hold up the 22 single shot youth rifle. I kneeled behind them and supported the rifle, letting them pull the tigger. I tried to have it pointed at a target where they could see a reaction when the bullet struck. Same as my father did for me.

One son developed a desire to hunt, the other one never did want to hunt. That's OK. I just wanted them safe around guns. I don't remember the exact age , but the hunter got his first deer around age 14 or so. All by himself. I wasn't with him. Living on, and owning your own property helps.
 

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Me and kids at school went to the fields on weekends as soon as we were allowed out on our own. We didn't have real guns. Started with bb guns and slingshots. I would take a kid as soon as he or she showed interest. Dad had me shooting a 22 at probably 6 or 7. But it was under close watch. Not hunting with it.
 

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I grew up going on hunting trips with my dad and grandfather. There are family pics of me in Dad's jeep- in a baby seat- with a whitetail draped over the hood. Since Oregon had no minimum age for hunting (they do the Mentored- or chaperoned- hunt program also), I was gathering rabbits, grouse, squirrels, and the occasional raccoon. I took my first deer at 9, my first elk at 13.
IMHO, if you want your kids involved in hunting and the shooting sports, no age is too early to start sharing it with them.
 

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I went out early age on some nice days when I was 6-7 years old. After that I was able to carry a rifle but not loaded. Then it was loaded when I was 12.
 

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I was hunting by 6 or 7 started shooting a pellet gun at 5 or 6 to learn safety and the basics. started small game like squirrels and summer groundhogs/woodchucks.... kinda fell out of it for a while when football and playing with friends was a bigger interest (between 9-15ish years old) only went hunting/shooting occasionally but when many of your games and or practices were weekends and after school didnt have a lot of time... then about 16 a close friend really got into hunting had another that did also...so all of a sudden that became a priority again. from about 15 on through 21 when life happened again and then from 21-about 50 I only hunted sparingly..started going to range to shoot more but not so much hunting..then I retired at 50 and had a ton of spare time...so started hunting again...
 
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