New Jersey Hunters banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· Registered
3,748 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Another reason to EDUCATE and enlist more hunters.

By DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov 5, 3:14 PM ET

OAKLAND, Md. - John Wagner was 5 when he killed his first deer with one shot from a .223-caliber rifle. He is now standing in the living room of his family home and recalling with mounting excitement how last December he trained the cross hairs on the 75-pound doe as she paused beneath a tree house where he and his father waited.

"I shot it right behind the front shoulder," the boy said. "Dropped it right in its tracks."

John, now 6 years old, stands about 4 feet tall and weighs about 50 pounds. He's a good student, earning a monthly award for responsibility in kindergarten last year.

But he'd rather be hunting.

"I like it," he said. "Shooting a gun and shooting at the animals and killing them."

When an 8-year-old girl made headlines last month by bagging the first black bear of the season, many Marylanders were surprised to learn the state has no minimum age limit for hunting. But for some families in rural areas such as Garrett County, learning to handle firearms is as much a part of childhood as losing one's baby teeth.

Hunting opponents aim to change that. The Humane Society of the United States is talking with state legislators about establishing a minimum hunting age of perhaps 16, said Heidi Prescott, the society's senior vice president of campaigns.

"A deer rifle can kill someone up to a mile away, and young adolescents lack the experience, judgment and emotional maturity to handle that kind of firepower safely," she said. "To send someone into the woods with a long-range weapon who's not even mature enough to drive a car is an invitation to tragedy."

State wildlife managers disagree. Paul Peditto, director of the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife and Heritage Service, said children of any age who have passed the state's tests for firearm competency and hunter safety — a requirement for all new hunters since 1977 — should be allowed to hunt.

The safety exam can be given orally, as in John Wagner's case. Practically, "you're probably talking about the exceptional 5-year-old and the average 8- to 10-year-old" as being capable of passing the course, Peditto said.

He acknowledged that some people are alarmed by the idea of small children with loaded guns, "but invariably they're people who don't hunt, don't have any intention to hunt and have never participated in a hunter-safety course."

That doesn't describe Prescott. She said she's taken the Maryland hunter-safety course and found it fairly easy. The 10-to-14-hour course includes a 50-question multiple choice exam and a live firing test that she said doesn't approximate the stress of hunting.

"You're shooting at models with an instructor standing over you," she said. "You're not shooting at moving targets."

Maryland's hunter-safety requirement places it among 13 states with youth-hunter policies that the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation consider "somewhat restrictive." A 2004 report commissioned by the groups lists 17 states with less-restrictive regulations and 20 with policies that are considered more restrictive because they ban most hunting before age 12.

The study found that hunters 6 to 15, when accompanied by an adult, have a better safety record than hunters overall. It reported that in 2002, there were 1.6 shooting incidents for every 1 million supervised youth hunters, compared with 52 incidents per million hunters of all ages.

A shooting incident was defined as an instance in which a person was wounded or killed by a shot from a firearm or a bow. The report didn't include an incident rate for unsupervised youth hunters.

Maryland has no adult supervision requirement for junior hunters, defined by the state as those under 16. Peditto said that in practice, junior hunters usually are accompanied by adults because the youngsters can't drive to the hunting grounds.

John Wagner will be with his father, Jody, on Nov. 12 when thousands of youngsters participate in Maryland's Junior Deer Hunt, a one-day event for hunters 16 and under that requires adult accompaniment.

John's mother, Liz, said she or her husband will accompany their son on all his hunts until at least his 13th birthday. She said some parents think John's too small for hunting and don't like him talking to their children about it.

"I say, 'Well, he is fully supervised and he's not out by himself,'" she said. "I think it's good for kids to learn this. It teaches them how to be responsible at an early age."


On the Net:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Humane Society of the United States:

National Shooting Sports Foundation:

National Wild Turkey Federation:


· Registered
3,748 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

"Hunting opponents aim to change that. The Humane Society of the United States is talking with state legislators about establishing a minimum hunting age of perhaps 16, said Heidi Prescott, the society's senior vice president of campaigns."

The above quote is what is of importance. The group "Humane Society of the United States" (HSUS) is an anti hunting group similar to PETA. They are trying to establish the hunting age. They are trying to take it out of a PARENTS hands. Also, HSUS knows the published statistics that IF A PERSON HAS NOT BEEN INTRODUCED TO HUNTING BY AGE 16 THEY WILL MOST LIKELY NEVER HUNT.

HSUS is attempting to establish a hunting age in order to influence the future enlistment numbers of hunters.

Please continue to EDUCATE yourself about the virtues of hunting. I've mentioned this a lot in my threads and if you would like to know of a few books that help in this endeavor feel free to pm me.

1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.