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Discussion Starter #1
Picked up the PON, and top billing on the opening page...... <span style="font-weight: bold">"Mentored hunters age at issue".</span> Seems as though some commissioners are on board, and siding with Weaner, while one, Martone, seemingly disagrees. Unless someone cares to type the entire article (too long for me), I'll give you excerpts from each Commish, and some PON comments.

For some reason, the article ended in a mid-sentence on page 23, and I never could find the end of the article. Not sure if it just ended prematurely, or if it is on some other page.
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<span style="font-weight: bold">PON:</span>
Commissioner Ronald Weaner, of Adams County, revealed at a meeting earlier last year that he intended to introduce a minimum age for mentored youth hunters. At the time, he indicated that he was skeptical that 5 year-olds that he had seen in photos with deer had actually killed the animals."

<span style="font-weight: bold">Weaner:</span>
"I keep hearing comments from people who see in the paper pictures of 3- and 4-year old kids shooting deer - it's just like, who are we kidding here ?" Weaner said at the December meeting."

"So I would like to see a minimum age here, and my thinking is that it not be less than 8, but we need to have some discussion about what that age is."

"And if a kid is like, let's say 5 years old and he or she was a mentored hunter this year, if my proposal would pass, they would just have to wait. They would have to wait like any other normal kid used to have to wait."

<span style="font-weight: bold">Putnam:</span>
"I'll tell you what, I have to question, if a kid can't write his name how he can fire a high-powered rifle and kill a deer ?. Or is he just being used to tag a deer ?"

<span style="font-weight: bold">Martone:</span>
"We are talking about 35,000 licensed mentored youth hunters, and if we have a dozen, or even two dozen 6 or 7-year olds, I would say the positive so far outweighs the negative that I would not like to put those kind of restrictions on the program. I still believe the parent has the ultimate decision in that process."

<span style="font-weight: bold">Schreffler:</span>
"You always wonder when you take a little kid and put him behind a gun, he shoots it and it kicks him on his tail and hurts his shoulder, it's not the kind of hunting experience that hooks him for the rest of his life."

<span style="font-weight: bold">PON:</span>
Martone conceded that photos of very young children posing with big-racked buck they supposedly shot, raises the ire of older hunters, particularly those who suffered through a deer season without taking a deer. "It's an emotional issue," he said.

Commissioner Weaner said that at the end of the firearms deer season in the CWD disease management area, in York and Adams counties, he was told that many deer showed up that were supposedly taken by mentored youth hunters.
 

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sorry, but I agree. A 5yr old has NO clue what life/death is about regardless of parent training. Not to mention, I find it very disgusting that a 5-11yr old can hunt with no classes, but when they become 12, they suddenly need HTE. I know my opinion will draw ire from some, but I really don't care. Make them pass the HTE immediately and then we can talk about younger ages than 12.
 

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Won't draw ire from me 4c. I raised a small gaggle of kids. Still raising some. My cherubs ended up being in the upper percentile of size regarding kiddy size, and believe it or not, they were even smart (thanks mom), based on their academia merits. NONE of them, that would be ZERO, could shoulder a Daisy Red Rider BB gun properly until they were 8. There just was not enough reach from butt to trigger to properly shoulder. They shot the red rider with the stock under their armpit. No worries as it was air blowin bb's, and I was right behind them. No sense even talking about the big boom, the recoil, and what goes on down stream.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Why dabernit Bluetick, what the heck did I just renew for 2 more years on a subscription, when I can read it online ?
Actually, I prefer old style paper rag reads.
 

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4C I would like you tell my son who is 8 he cant hunt this year, but first I would like you to talk to him and see the smile on his face as he tells you the stories of his first spring gobbler when he was 6 , his first buck when he was 7, or maybe the story of his buck and doe this year.....then I would like you to go to the range and see him shoot his 243 and then you can tell him he isnt safe and has to stay home this year !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Congrats to the whipper-snapper. May I ask what shotgun model he shouldered as a 6 yr old when he took the gobbler ? I know they make youth models, but reckon I haven't come across any that a 6 yo properly shoulders. Not saying yours can't, but would like a link or something, as I would like to get some tiny-mites going early on with a proper scattergun.
 

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At the earlier and earlier ages we see kids stacked behind deer or turkeys, it it clear that the experience is all about the parent's needs being fulfilled and...not the child or the child's experience hunting.
Those little kids would be quite as happy sitting next to Dad, spending time with Dad, or Mom, as most of us experienced growing up, scouting, getting ready, sitting in the stand and so on.
Not many kids would not want to shoot a gun or do what dad and 'em show such excitement for....they are children who love their parents.
Earlier and earlier bragging rights are a bad thing, may well lead to a peak of interest before the real reason, past that bent tailgate or deer pole, of hunting is realized.
Waiting with the correct incentives along the way builds the deepest interest in most everything.
Building that interest does not always fall to stacking a trigger....and safety seems a small concern with dad there....competition would concern me more.
While there will always be exceptions with each child re age and ability and one can never argue well against a child's smile....we need more adults not in soooo much of a hurry for themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Those little kids would be quite as happy sitting next to Dad, spending time with Dad, or Mom, as most of us experienced growing up, scouting, getting ready, sitting in the stand and so on.
OD, after a couple hundred of your posts, finally one I can understand.


My kids were more woods savy than just about all others. They grew up rural and smack in the middle of farmland. Shucks, my boy could climb a nearly 45 degree hill in diapers at 2 years. "Nature" walks (stick/leave/nut gathering), were the norm. They were all perfectly content with mushroom hunting as tikes, and spending time abroad in the wilderness with dad without all the fuss and muss of killin.
 

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Fleroo said:
Congrats to the whipper-snapper. May I ask what shotgun model he shouldered as a 6 yr old when he took the gobbler ? I know they make youth models, but reckon I haven't come across any that a 6 yo properly shoulders. Not saying yours can't, but would like a link or something, as I would like to get some tiny-mites going early on with a proper scattergun.
My boys both shot their BB gun with the butt under their armpit till they were 8. I got my oldest boy a Rossi 20 ga. single shot when he was 9. That thing kicks like a mule. We both remember the first time he shot it......it almost jumped out of his hands and gave him one heck of a bruise. There is NO WAY a 6 or 7 year old could handle that!!!! My older boy isn't small either, at age 11 he was shooting my SP10.

I used to take my boys hunting with me starting at age 5, they wouldn't last long, but it was a start. If I got lucky, they fell asleep and I could hunt a little longer. One year I built a little fire for them toi stay warm so I could hunt longer. When they got board, we went for a walk and they asked ALOT of questions. There was no need for them to have a gun in their hands at that age. It was part of the learning and understanding process.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I got my oldest boy a Rossi 20 ga. single shot when he was 9. That thing kicks like a mule.
Hee-Hee. My first scattergun was an H&R 12 ga. single shot. You haven't experienced kick until you put that light as a feather sucker against your shoulder. Very dumb gun to buy a 12 yo, but my pap wasn't a hunter, he didn't know. I suffered through with it until I finally bought an 870 Wingmaster later in high school.
 

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I believe only a parent knows when a kid is ready to hunt. With the system in place, I know firsthand that some push their children into it early for no reason other than the adults own satisfaction. I personally don't believe a five, six, or seven year old can really comprehend what they're doing out there. There are exceptions I'm sure.

I went with my dad from the time I could walk and it didn't deter my interest that I couldn't carry a gun or shoot game. If nothing else, the wait made it that much more special when I turned twelve. It was a right of passage.

The best thing you can do for a kid is to let them be a kid. Too much pushing to grow up too fast in many aspects of today's society. If they're going to have an interest the in outdoors they're going to have it, you can't push it on them. Sometimes pushing them into it too fast and too early can backfire.
 

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Fleroo said:
Congrats to the whipper-snapper. May I ask what shotgun model he shouldered as a 6 yr old when he took the gobbler ? I know they make youth models, but reckon I haven't come across any that a 6 yo properly shoulders. Not saying yours can't, but would like a link or something, as I would like to get some tiny-mites going early on with a proper scattergun.
I'll chime in here.I have a 7 year old that is either average sized or a little small for his age.He's a tough kid though and works like a dog around our place and even runs some equiptment by himself.He's been shooting a bow since he was 5 and does very well with that.When he turned 6,I bouht him a pellet gum.The thing was way too big for him so I bought him a smaller bb gun that I took about an inch of the stock.He shot is like crap so I figured it would be a while before he was ready to hunt.Last Chistmas I bought him a cricket with a scope and surprisingly he did very well with that.I got sick of loading the thing so I bought him a youth model Marlin with a clip.He put several bricks through that gun at spinner targets and small game targets.At 80 yards,he can hit a crow spinner almost every time.When he turned 7 last June,I bought him a rem model 7 compact in a .243.I loaded it down a hair but really didn't need to.He shot about 300 or so rounds through that rifle and the recoil and muzzle blast didn't bother him a bit.I wouldn't have let him hunt unless I knew he could make the shot and by the time fall rolled around,there was no doubt.We hunted pretty hard this past season and he didn't slow me down one bit.He never complained about being bored or cold and is still begging me to take him out now.He ended up making a nice neck shot on a bedded doe that we snuck up on and saw me shoot several more deer.

Kids grow up and mature at different levels.A year ago,I wouldn't have considered letting him hunt but one year can make a huge difference.

This past Christmas I bought him a Mossberg bantam in 20ga.He's been shooting the crap out of that gun as well without complainong about the recoil.
 

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I went to the range with a good buddy of mine as his 8 year old son. His 8 year old son shot better groups at 100 yards then most grown men I have seen shoot at that distance. He was shooting a Youth Model Savage .243 and had the bullets almost touching every shot. Ended up smoking a doe in Rifle season. He made my eyes really open up to this MY program and I can;t wait til my 6 and 4 year old boys are a little bit older to take them along.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I believe only a parent knows when a kid is ready to hunt.
I've hunted with plenty of parents that needed a mentor. Unfortunately, posters on HPA are not the norm when it comes to hunter demographics.
 

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the percentage of MY tags issued to kids under the age of 7 is small. Out of roughly 34,000 MY tags sold in 2012 only about 2300 were to kids age 6 & under. So I think the misconcepton that 3 and 4 year olds are taking any number of deer is just that, a misconception. But I'll bet a fair number of squirrels and groundhogs are taken by these same youngsters??

My kids have had MY tags since the age of 5, guess how many deer tags have been filled?? Zero!! But they have both taken their fair share of squirrels in those years.

This was honestly the first season that my 8 year old was proficient enough with the crossbow and Ruger Compact that I actually allowed him attempt to harvest a deer. Problem was, he had never experienced that thing we seasoned guys know as "Buck Fever"
. After accompanying me for several years now, my man wants to harvest a deer more than anything, he was devastated at missing a buck on the rifle opener, however he said a day later that he wants to shoot more so that he never misses another one. MY has been nothing short of fantastic for me, it has rekindled the fire and made me remember what hunting and being outdoors is all about and allowed me to see the excitement and passion being cultivated in the youngsters.
 

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eyefromthesky said:
I believe only a parent knows when a kid is ready to hunt. With the system in place, I know firsthand that some push their children into it early for no reason other than the adults own satisfaction. I personally don't believe a five, six, or seven year old can really comprehend what they're doing out there. There are exceptions I'm sure.

I went with my dad from the time I could walk and it didn't deter my interest that I couldn't carry a gun or shoot game. If nothing else, the wait made it that much more special when I turned twelve. It was a right of passage.

The best thing you can do for a kid is to let them be a kid. Too much pushing to grow up too fast in many aspects of today's society. If they're going to have an interest the in outdoors they're going to have it, you can't push it on them. Sometimes pushing them into it too fast and too early can backfire.
True but I didn't push my kid at all.I had no intentions of letting him hunt but he begged for every gun he has and he begged to go hunting.He shot like crazy all year and was definately ready when fall came around.He also tagged along on almost every scouting trip for the past several years.I wasn't sure how he would react to killing a deer or seeing a deer die but he did fine.He saw me shoot three deer this year and killed one himself.He helped gut,drag out and butcher every one but he's been helping with that stuff since he's been able to walk.I've never treated him like a baby and when he's with me,he doesn't act like a little kid.When he's around other kids,he still acts his age.This past hunting season really matured him in some ways and it made me look at him completely different.People don't give kids enough credit.They're capable of doing a lot more than many people think.At seven years of age,he know how to operate every control on a tractor.He can put his own chain back on his bike and he can saddle and tack up a horse completely on his own
 

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There are stats available that show the numbers in each age group that have mentored licenses. The number of kids less than 6 is miniscule. The numbers between 6 and 8 grows quite a bit and the numbers between 8 and 12 predominate.

As usual, Weaner and Schreffler are on the wrong side of the issue, yet again. Kids can fish, let the fish die from suffocation on a stringer, gut the fish and eat the fish with nobody batting a eye, yet we argue about taking a 6 year old hunting in this state. Who cares. The program has been proven safe and has gotten kids into the outdoors for precious time with the mentors.

This is one of those issues and debates that I see as disheartening with out sport under attack like never before. We fight ourselves about hunting and worse, fight about letting kids hunt.
 

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I have enjoyed 2 years of mentored youth hunting with my soon to be 9 year old son. We haven't had any big game harvests yet but have already created lasting memories together. He uses a set of shooting sticks and can handle a youth 243 very nicely. I would have to respectfully disagree with the idea that a kid at that age not being able to shoulder a rifle as long as they have one designed for a kid not an adult. As far a pushing your kid to do something, he and I go for as long as he wants to. I normally am an all day sitter but the first day this year we were done at 1230. I refuse to make him sit any longer than he wants as I want him to enjoy his time in the woods and not learn to dislike it. I wonder how many who are opposed to the "pushing" take the same approach with baseball, football, etc?
 
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