Here are the 21 US states where pre-teen children can hunt big game alone

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I get why folks may think this is bonkers, but I’m not sure there’s a meaningful number of pre-teen kids out there causing any problems by hunting alone.


According to the link, many of those “green states” have their own age restrictions. It’s not open season, so to speak, on 5 year olds hunting elk.


Go to market for meat kids.

Better yet, have your parents go.

I am appalled that my 6 year old son cannot hunt big game here in Delaware. Not sure what big game are here beyond deer, but goddamn this fuckin’ nanny state!


OK, so I’m going to be in the minority here, but please hear me out.

I grew up in a very rural county. The family farm is on the outskirts of a town with a population that hovers around 1800 people. I learned to shoot a gun as a pre-teen. I think I was target shooting a .22 (very small rifle) at age 9. I was never allowed to shoot alone and guns AND ammo were kept in separate locked cabinets. The entirety of my father’s family, spanning several generations, including myself, hunted on the family farm year round. We hunted large and small game for sustenance and pest management.

It was an incredible part of my childhood and shaped me in many positive ways. It was completely free of the largely “urban” and toxic trophy-hunting mentality. I’m now a city dweller many hours from that farm and I miss it.

At school, it was largely recognized that the opening day of deer season was an unofficial holiday for students and staff. During deer season, juniors and seniors would keep shotguns and bows in their trucks because they would sit in their family’s tree stand from sunrise until they needed to head to school and then squeeze in some time after school. A deer can feed a family for a while, and you were usually issues three tags, more if you owned a farm with enough acreage.

Rural life can be very different and strange to folks that have spent the entirety of their lives in a city.


An important part of that link:

Those states with no minimum hunting age usually require completion of hunter education course and some states have minimum age for that.


In fairness to those states, you usually don’t need a law about something unless/until you discover there is an actual problem that needs dealing with.

If parents sending out their 5 year old to bag a moose for dinner isn’t an an actual thing that happens, why would you need to bother creating a law about it?


If you condone eating meat it’s hard to make an ethical case against hunting deer for food.


I’m from one of those green states and I remember taking my hunter safety class in grade 5 or 6. It was offered at school as an optional course. Most of my class took it. Well, at least all the boys. There were some girls who didn’t.


They are. Their market is just fresher than what you and I are used to.

My wife has had lots of students (age 10-14) from families that hunt to supplement their meager income. 50 lbs of meat is a couple hundred dollars saved. Small animals are enjoyed too.

There’s money to be made from the fur and antlers of deer. Even small animals can earn good money. One of her students made $20/muskrat. He’s proud of his ability to shoot them in the head to preserve the pelt. And skin them with just a small incision under the tail. He gifted her one that was like a soft, furry puppet.

These people aren’t wackos. They are just more self sufficient than you and I.


I also grew up out in the country, where hunting was a regular thing that everyone did, including me (from around age 8 or so)

That being said, I’ve never met a hunter in the country that ever did it for the food. Going to the grocery store was always much more cost-effective and less time consuming. The only reasons people went hunting were for a) bragging rights (“hey, I bagged a 12 pointer”), b) as a way to get some exercise (rabbit hunting is basically “going for a hike… but with a gun”), c) as an excuse to get out of the house and get some fresh air (the equivalent of going golfing, but for people who don’t belong to country clubs), and d) getting a set of antlers or a dear/elk head to hang on the wall (“trophy”), and e) shooting guns is cool and fun. I’ve never met a hunter that did so for the purpose of feeding themselves and their family, although I suppose that may happen in remote places like Alaska for people who live far from civilization.


Does Wisconsin count as ‘far from civilization’? I have several friends who are from there and who hunt for food every season. I’ve got friends in IA, IL, and MN who do the same. Are they not civilized, either?


I do not believe you that they needed to hunt in order to feed themselves. Not for a second. The number of people who hunt as their occupation, rather than as a hobby, is vanishingly small in the US. Yes, hunters eat what they shoot. That does not mean they need to do it to feed their family and keep from starving. The vast majority of hunters [in the US at least, including pretty much all of the lower US] hunt because they like to hunt, not because they have to do it to survive.


You want to move those goalposts again?


I think you’d change your mind if you took a trip back home with me. Rural USA can get pretty poor, pretty fast, and meat is more expensive than ammo, especially when you hand load.

I’m not going to get caught up in arguing that rural folks don’t trophy hunt. I only know the experience I grew up with, and that’s where deer that get killed by gun, bow, or automobile get tagged and eaten. My father once got two deer on opening day. One with his shotgun and one with his truck. The first cost $15 for the deer tag and the second $350 for the deductible.


Why do you drive a car, I bet its not just for one reason, same thing with hunting, all of the things you listed are excellent reasons for hunting being a healthy and useful thing to do, but the end result of say golf is only self achievement, where as getting a deer or a brace of rabbits, or quail, or almost any successful time hunting is food. I grew up in urban central NJ, i started shooting as a activity with my grandparents/uncles and all of my uncles and aunts and cousins when I was 6/7, and hunting small game after I proved i could handle a firearm safety, took my hunting test at 10 or 11 and then I was allowed to go on the deer hunt, I am in my 40s, I have never taken a trophy, but I certainly would not mind a nice rack to hang on the wall and brag about.


My pre-teen grandkids can hunt big game without firearms, archery, or darts – merely stand on our (or their) front porch and toss a net over deer wandering by. Yes, we live in wooded rural mountains. Bears and pumas regularly visit. Stay off the porch then, hey?

I used to hunt muskie and pike by myself when I was a preteen; the tools were different, but the idea is the same. Plenty of the people I saw out there would have gone hungry had they not bagged anything.

We used to catch smelt this way. Bears, not so much.


If I read that correctly, the states that are the home to the largest of the big game are the states that do regulate how old you need to be to hunt it. I suppose that makes sense.

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