I grew up hunting with my father. I didn’t start actually hunting until I was around 11, and I wanted to know if I could start hunting younger. So I did some research, and here’s what I found.
Can 7-year-olds hunt? Age limitations for hunting depends on the state you live in. Some states let children hunt when supervised at any age, requiring a certain age to hunt alone. Other states require certain ages to hunt both supervised and alone.
Hunting can be the best experiences you have in your life. But it is important to know the laws of the state you are in. Some states are extremely strict about it, while others are lax.
Most states allow youths 12 and under to hunt without a license as long as they are supervised by an adult. Usually, the adult must have a hunting license themselves.
Some states, such as Idaho, Maine, and Nebraska require youths to be at least 10 years old to hunt. Once you are of the age of ten, you are allowed to hunt without a license if you are accompanied by an adult who is licensed. After the age of 18, in most states, you are required to have a permit to hunt, whether you are supervised or not.
Most states allow youths to begin hunting alone with a license at the age of 12. However, some states do not allow this until the age of 16. In some of the strictest states, you are not allowed to hunt at all until the age of 18, and you must have completed a hunters education course before doing so.
There is some question as to whether or not 7-year-olds are mentally fit to take the life of an animal. They might not understand what that means. 7-year-olds might also struggle to understand the safety concerns that you must have when handling weapons.
The act of hunting may be too serious for your 7-year-old. Things like blood may frighten them. It is important to understand what your child can handle before taking him or her out into the field and placing a rifle in their hands.
Some 7-year-olds may also not be able to understand the danger that is involved with weapons and hunting. They must understand that a gun is not a toy, and hunting is not a game. Any living thing that they shoot will be hurt and may die. It is extremely important that they realize that they are mortal and that the other people with them are mortal.
When I was learning how to shoot, my father looked me in the eyes and said, very carefully, “If you shoot me with this, you will kill me.” That definitely made me more aware of the severity of what I was doing.
Teach your 7-year-old never to point a gun at other people. Teach them to never keep the gun loaded. Teach them that the gun is only to be used when a parent is around. Store the gun in a location where the child will not be able to steal it. Keep any bullets for the gun in a separate location from the gun itself.
Hunters Education is a course that most states require to obtain a hunting license. These can be taken online or in a classroom, from a certified instructor. Hunters ed teaches many important lessons and serves several important purposes.
- Responsibility – A knowledgeable and skillful student of hunting will never be a true hunter unless he or she also behaves responsibly. Responsible behavior includes courtesy, respect of others and of wildlife, and involvement. Responsible hunters do not poach or act carelessly. Responsible hunters obey hunting laws, hunt fairly, practice safety rules, and wait for a clean kill before shooting. How you behave and how other people see you will determine hunting’s future.
- Safety skills – Hunting-related safety skills are gained through hands-on training and practice. It is most valuable to learn these skills from an experienced hunter. Safety skills may include lessons such as never aiming when someone is downrange, keeping your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to fire, and to keep your gun stored unloaded and on safety.
- Knowledge – Knowledge is learning and understanding the basics of safe firearm handling and hunting. Before being trained in the skill of firearm shooting, you should know how the firearm operates and how to handle it safely.
- Involvement – Part of the process of becoming a true, responsible sportsman is becoming involved in efforts to make hunting a respected sport. That includes teaching others, working with landowners, and cooperating with game wardens. It also includes joining conservation organizations, which will help preserve habitat and promote wildlife management.
Typically, a hunters ed course contains nine to ten units. Each unit focuses on a different topic in hunting, and you will be tested on each to get your license. A typical course’s study guide looks like this:
- Unit 1 – Hunting and Hunting Education: Discusses the importance of your role in hunting, the importance of your education about it, and the five stages of the hunter.
- Unit 2 – Hunter Responsibility: Discusses laws regarding hunting and ethics.
- Unit 3 – Today’s Firearms: Discusses the weapons you will use, the mechanisms, how to use them, and some safety mechanisms.
- Unit 4 – Firearm Safety: Discusses rules, loading, firing, carrying, cleaning, storing, and transporting.
- Unit 5 – Understanding Ammunition: Discusses the ammunition your firearm uses and the range of the firearm.
- Unit 6 – Shooting Skills: Discusses marksmanship, shooting skills, and appropriate places to shoot.
- Unit 7 – Preparing for the Hunt and Outdoor Safety: Discusses where you can hunt, physical fitness, first aid, plans, survival skills, outdoor essentials, and water safety.
- Unit 8 – Making the Shot: Discusses vital shots and proper cleaning and transporting.
- Unit 9 – Conservation, Wildlife, and Identification: Discusses respect for wildlife, wildlife conservation, wildlife management, and wildlife identification.
These lessons are all vital to the hunter, and will be tested on.
Why Hunting Laws Exist
To some, hunting laws and restrictions seem like a drag. However, they were put into place for the protection of the animals, of people, and of nature.
Protection of Others
The protection of others is the most obvious reason for hunting laws, and the effectiveness of these laws has lead to hunting becoming one of the safest outdoor sports. As an example of a law designed for the protection of others, most hunters today are required by law to take a hunter education course before they can legally hunt. Hunter education helps us become safer hunters and how to best minimize the chances of hunting incidents.
Protection of Wildlife
Laws and regulations that restrict hunting seasons, for example, protect wildlife by ensuring that no animal can be hunted during a time that would be detrimental to the wildlife population.
A harvest is never guaranteed; there is always a chance that the game will get away. There are many laws that restrict how a game animal may be harvested, which help maintain the integrity of the sport and ensure fair chase.
Regulations, including bag limits and different seasons for the types of firearms used, ensure that every hunter will have a chance to harvest wildlife.
Is hunting dangerous? Hunting, and any activity that involves weapons can be very dangerous, especially for young children. Before you let your child handle any weapon, be sure to instruct them regarding appropriate behavior and safety.
What are some good ways to help my child be good at hunting? Teaching your kiddo to hunt can be a difficult task. Some of the best ways to help them learn are to work with them on aim and good stalking techniques. Remember to always be patient, and always keep your behavior aware and safe.
What kind of gun is best for kids? Before you purchase a gun for your child, it is important to be sure that they are of the proper age. Usually, the best guns for younger kids are those that do not kick. My first gun was a .22 rifle. It was a good gun to learn on. A small shotgun could be used as well, as long as the kick isn’t too severe.