Welcome back to another weekly edition of my Hunters safety blog. Today I want to talk about something that has been bothering me throughout my research. It is agreed that majority of hunting accidents involve young people between the ages of 16 – 21. It might be the invincible attitude young people tend to have or maybe just an overall carelessness and the thinking that “it could never happen to me, but whatever it is. We need to find a way to eliminate it.
Its unrealistic to think that we can eliminate all hunting accidents because sometimes that is exactly what it is: an accident. However, there is an alarming rate of injuries and deaths happening to our young people and any reduction we can cause is worth the cost but i will get more into that next week. What i really want to discuss with you today is this article written by Mike Stuckey (you can also find it in the Must Reads!! tab.)
In this article Mike tells us the minimum age requirement to hunt without supervision by state and let me tell you now, it is shocking.
- Nine states have the minimum age set at 12 years old.
- Missouri is 11 years old.
- Alaska, Tennessee, and Louisiana is 10 years old.
- In Texas the minimum age is 9 years old!
- Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington have no minimum age requirement!
That means in seven states it is 100% legal to send an 8 year old into the woods with a high powered rifle to shoot a bear! Only if someone can give him a ride because the law wont allow him to drive for another 8 years.
There’s no question that children this young lack the comprehension ability, the real world experience, and the seriousness to handle the sport we love. Instead of ignoring this issue we need to take a stand and stop setting our kids up for failure.
I don’t have all the answers or know the mental capacity of children at varying ages but i do know that no 9 year old belongs in the woods with a high powered gun by himself and you would think our lawmakers do too but that is apparently not true. However, not all the blame can be thrown onto lawmakers, its our job as parents and hunting enthusiasts to know when our young people are and are not ready to take on this pastime alone.
Thats all i have for this week, please join me next week as I go through proposals to the Safety Education Division as well as other recommendations for us citizens and lawmakers as well.
Until next week,