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PHESNTHNTR

At what age can you start hunting small game / waterfowl ?

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I'm hoping someone can help me w/ this.. I am curious as to what age my son needs to be to actually go hunting with me and shoot a gun. Pg 36 in the regs book shows a 11 years and younger column, where small game, firearm safety, pheasant & duck stamps are not required, I know he has to be 12 to get his FAS, but can he actually hunt before then?

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As soon as he can shoot a gun he can go hunting for small game while accompanied by an adult.

Not required means not required.

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This subject has always confused me. For example how is it ok that a 6 year old can hunt with a 12 gauge but not ok to hunt deer with the same gun? How is one safer than the other? Of course a bullet or slug will travel much further than shot, but on the other hand a bullet or slug is much smaller than a pattern of shot. Personally I think gun safety should be manditory to hunt in Minnesota period. If they have to lower the age for firearms safety then so be it. In fact it should be mandatory to teach the class in schools so kids have some kind of proper instruction on handling weapons.

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What is the difference between a kid younger than 12 hunting with a firearms safety certificate and a kid hunting with an adult who has a FAC? I stand right next to my 9 year old son the whole time when he's hunting and this is his 2nd year behind the trigger. I stress saftey like a military training instructor would.

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For me, and I've raised this before, why is it okay for a 10-year old to hunt without a FAS certificate but not okay for a 13-year old? Both must be standing next to me or another adult when they have a firearm in possession. Are they safer when they are under the age of 13 and then at 13 become more reckless?

It's a strange loophole in the law. The only explanation I have heard so far that makes any sense came from this site. That before age 12 or 13 they may not be mature enough to understand the firearms safety training well enough to retain what they are taught. But then I'm inclined to think that if they can't learn it then they aren't ready to use the weapons either.

Bob

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This is a strange loop hole in the regs. I believe most kids (now I didn't say all) are not mature enough before the age of 12 to really understand firearms and firearms safety. I say this because I am a FAS instructor and have been involved in instructing over 180 individuals per year for the last 3 years. I really believe that having parents involved is the key to raising a safe and knowledgable hunter. I would bet that a 10 year old that has a parent involved in teaching safety and hunting ethics for a year is much safer than a kid who comes to class and passes with no parental involvement.

I was taught by my father. I went hunting when I was 10 - no gun. When I was 11 I carried an unloaded gun. When I was 12 I was able to carry a loaded gun and hunted close to my father. I would get a kick in the pants if I pointed a toy gun or a water pistol at someone. This may sound over-the-top, but dad did get the point across - Don't point a gun at anything you don't intend to kill!

In closing, if you have children, get involved! Not only the kids, but you, and the hunting community will reap tremendous benefits. Have fun - be safe smile.gif

FWT

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Amen to that. I am 17 now, and was hunting with a true firearm since the age of 12 after earning my Firearm Saftey Certification. My younger cousin, started hunting at 14, and that was a little scary. It just seems too young, even though i did the same thing. As a hunter myself, i in no way mean to say that the age is too low, but i think an extra year or too of walking along side dad with the bb gun might have done us all a little good.

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I just had my first son 12 days ago and I am already planning how and when I can get him in the field. I don't want to burn him out with cold weather and rain and things of that nature, so I think I will start with Pheasant hunting at 8 years old. He will not have a gun, but rather a sling shot and walk with all the others. At age 10, he will upgrade to a bb gun and then at 12 a 20ga with one shell. I think that loading a gun full of ammo and letting a 12 year old rip off 3 shots at an animal is first dangerous and second, teaches them terrible habits. That is my plan. But who knows.

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I got my son grouse hunting last year when he was 8 and he's been doing well this year also. He's 2 for 2 so far. he has no interest in shooting squirrels or even picking up a .22..Smart boy!

He uses a .20 ga.

g5.jpg

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Cool kid! cool.gif

I just could not live with my self if something happened to one of my boys! I figure why rush it, being 6 and 11, they have many hunting years in front of them. Its one of those things I would love to rush, but hold my self back.

I have been taking them with since last season. I let the 11 year old carry his BB gun. But next year it will be fire arm safety and after that, I will let him carry a gun!

My wife would divorce me if I let my little one or oldest at that age carry a gun. I know she would try to send me to jail (god forbid) something happened! That or kill me with the same gun grin.gif .

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WTG and nice picture Sledneck.

You can teach them safe and proper firearms handling when they're young. At age 12 the DNR would like young hunters to complete the Firearms Safety. In that class they'll learn more then safe firearms handling. Theres just too much in there to absorb at a younger age then 11. My son is 11 and completed Firearms Training this summer. This is his second year of Grouse hunting. So you might ask why would he hunt before FSA at age 10. Hes been groomed for the day that he could hunt, so I didn't just hand him a shotgun and say watch where you point it. Starting at a young age we talked about safe handling for firearms. Later in a controlled setting he was allowed to shoot. We progressed into trap and then hunting. As we walk/hunt hes now allowed to have shells in the magazine but not in the chamber. I want him to work on that muzzle control as hes walking the trails and through the brush. When the Lab gets birdy or the pointer is on point hes allowed to chamber a round.

Frank%20and%20grouse.jpg

For the last two seasons hes been the Grouse Hunter as I accompany him through the woods. Yesterday we both hunted together. Dad got one on the wing and Jr took one that treed. Next year he'll be allowed to have a round chambered and shoot grouse and pheasant on the wing.

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I can't remember how young I was when I started hunting with a gun. I think it is up to the parent to start the child when they think that the child is ready. If the parent is with the child hunting before 12 you can almost guarantee that child will have a better understanding of gun safty when they take it than one that is dropped off at gun safty and gets picked up when it is done . my dad sat with me and my sister and one of my friends. he sat through every class with us and went to the course. I have alot of memeries with him before I carried a gun and after that will live with me ti'll I die. I will be starting with my children this fall by taking the older one grouse hunting in two weeks. She is 5 I will let her shoot the 22 with my support of the gun on the bench rest. that is all I will do with her for the next few years. when she shows me that she can handle a gun I will let her carry one. I don't know when that will be age 8 or 14 It will be up to me not the state saying she can hunt at 12 if she has firearm cert.

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Come to think of it, one of the only things (minus family get togethers and a couple of other hobby classes)I can remember my father sitting threw with me is my firearms saftey classes. My father did not care much for hunting but he sat threw those classes with me and went to gun range at the end of the course! It was in Ramsey in late eighties! Good times!!! smile.gif

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I took my class when I was in Boy Scouts a long time ago.

I sat in class with my son. When its time for my daughter to take the class I'll have my wife attend and get her Certificate at the same time.

IMO, a Firearms Safety Class should be mandatory in all schools.

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It definitely depends on the kid. My son is 9 & has had a bb gun for two years, but he's used it very little. So far he's just not that interested in hunting. I think he'll come around, but he may not. You can't force them to like what you like & some just won't.

I know my cousin & I started going with during the deer drives when we were 11. I think he carried a gun at 13 & I did at 14. My Uncle hunted way more than my Dad hence I had very little training early on. There's no rush, like someone said you've got your whole life to hunt.

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Surface Tension, thats a great picture. Does he carry his own birds too??? I gotta get my son a hunting vest for Christmas this year. Next year we'll be working on safe wingshooting. Fishing is so great here that its hard to find time to shoot pre-season!!!!

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Thanks.

His vest didn't have the game pocket, but yes he wanted to carry it. I'll be getting him a vest so he can feel that bulge and weight.

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I learned how to properly hunt when I was around 8 or 9. the first year, I was only allowed to tag along and "observe." The next year, I was able to bring a toy gun along and if I misbehaved with it, it was taken from me and I got a lecture. Then, it was an empty single shot. The next year, I was given shells, but they went into the pocket until I was ready to shoot. Any time I wanted to go hunting, I would have to get the okay, and then my father would tag along with me. The year after that, I graduated to a loaded single shot .410 and was instructed to make the first shot count. Any grouse brought back with the first shot would result in dad buying me a new box of shells. Now, when deer hunting or hunting anything else for that matter, I don't pull the trigger unless I'm absolutely sure that I can cleanly kill with the first shot, even though the .410 is on the wall.

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Thanks everyone for the input, nice pics also guys. My son will be 6 at the end of this month. I have a BB gun for him to start shooting with, I also have a Winchester youth model 20 gauge that was my first shotgun, he cant even hold that up yet, so it's going to be a little bit for sure. He loves to come duck hunting with me, maybe this year even a pheasant hunt or two, he's pretty short so I'm afraid to loose him in the Big Blue Stem. grin.gif

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I'll be 37 in Jan and never hunted before. I met a few guys off here that I got to know pretty well through fishing and they offered to take me out hunting because I was interested. First thing I did was sign up for FAS and get that under me. I didn't need it because of my age, but you can't have to much info when handling a firearm. Had my first duck hunt last weekend and didn't get anything but it's still a good time out there. As my kids grow I will get them into it and take them along when they are old enough. Once the hit 12 they will take FAS and if they are mature enough they can take a gun with and we'll go from there. I think it all depends on the child. If you get them used to handeling firearms when they are young they will be ready when the time comes.

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Ya Surface, nice pic of your boy!

Were did you get the vest. I just kind of have to tye up a plastic one to my little one, but it keeps falling off. The older boy's does not fall off, but I would like to get a nice one for him! I think we might go out and see what happens on Sun...

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Congratulations fella's, you guys are way ahead of the curve. Like I said earlier in this post, "It's all about parental involvement". I have no doubt that your kids will be safe hunters, at any age, because of your concern with safety and your involvement with them. Great pictures!!!

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