State Removes Age Threshold for Hunting Altogether

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a number of hunting-related bills into law Saturday including one that eliminates the threshold age to hunt.

Classified as a “youth mentored hunting bill” by its sponsor, Assembly Bill 455 passed the legislature earlier this month by healthy margins and removes the requirement that a person is at least 10 years old to participate in a hunting mentorship program, leaving it up to parents to decide the budding sportsman’s minimum age.

Wisconsin Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, told lawmakers his legislation was about letting parents choose when their kids are ready to participate in hunting, not relying on a state mandate.

“I know my daughter would have been fine squirrel hunting with a .22 at age 6 had it been legal,” said Stafsholt. “Grouse hunting with a .410 shotgun a year or two later would have been warranted in my opinion.”

The change in state law advocated by Stafsholt eliminates the minimum age requirement for mentored hunts as well as the limit of one hunting device– such as a bow or gun– that a mentor and mentee can have between them while harvesting game. Under the new law, both can now carry a device, though it does bar mentors from using animal tags issued to the mentee.

While Stafsholt told lawmakers the change is in line with laws in place in at least 34 other states, Democratic Rep. Katrina Shankland warned that the bill would let “a toddler, a two-year-old” carry a gun, posing a risk to others in the woods.

Some 600,000 hunters hit Wisconsin’s woods in search of game each year in a state with some 5.7 million acres of public land, contributing an estimated $1 billion per year to the state’s economy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.Some 26,000 youth took part in mentored hunts in the state in 2016.

According to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 40 percent of the national population over 16 years old participated in outdoor activities in 2016, though the number of active hunters has been declining. This, in turn, sparked a response from the Trump administration to identify community programs that may be eligible for grants or could benefit from federal cooperation to help bring more people into the woods, with a special focus on engaging minorities, veterans, and youth.


  • Bud William

    What a Jackass, 6 year old daughter was ready to hunt. What does that guy smoke?

    • Ricky Cherry

      Bud Williams,my daughter was shooting a .22 cal.pistol and rifle at six years old.By the time she was 10 she very proficient with a 1911-.45ACP and a 20 guage shootgun. Maybe you never had the pleasure of teaching a kid?You should try it,it is a most wonderful fulfillment!

      • Bud William

        i am sure your daughter was ready to get her driver’s license at age 5. Good for you, but I doubt all kids at age 6 are ready to hunt.

        • Ethan

          You have not the slightest idea what you’re talking about–using generalizations is not an argument.

        • Terry Butts

          That is why it is LEFT TO THE PARENTS to make an informed decision based on actual knowledge about their children not left to POLITICIANS who can not legally GENERALIZE what is right for everyone based on ONE person or some easily manipulated study.

          Some states do allow children as young as 5 to drive under supervision of an adult so long as that child can operate the gas and brake pedals while being able to see out the window.

      • bekindandfair

        Well, Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright), was 100 pounds in first grade and 200 pounds at age 12, so I am sure he would have had no problem handling a long gun.

    • cyberscan

      I’ve seen a five year old Intuit girl shoot better groups with a .22 than some adults.

  • bekindandfair

    It would seem to me that the courts would then hold the adult personally responsible for any harm that the minor commits. I have heard of a father who accidentally (not paying close attention to where he was shooting and too quick to pull the trigger) killed his own son. I would think that now we will have a greater probability of the child accidentally killing the adult. That would be a heavy burden for a child to bear.

    • Terry Butts

      Only in cases where PROPER safety is not taught or followed. The case you mentioned violated those safety rules specifically the one of NOT FIRING unless you are 100% certain of not only what you are shooting at but what is around and behind it.

      One of the biggest causes of hunting “accidents” is people shooting at whatever moved in the bush or tree without waiting till they can actually see what it actually was.

      Before all this PARANOIA and preventing teaching actual gun safety to children out of FEAR they might SEE even the word gun people hunted along side their parents as soon as they were physically able to handle the weapon needed to harvest the food they were after very few accidents happened in the days when children were taught actual gun safety including firing demonstrations from the time they were old enough to pull a trigger.

      Today they have tried to make children IGNORANT of what a gun even looks or sounds like leading to everything from a POP TART with a bite out of it to someone pointing being accused of “VIOLATING ZERO WEAPON POLICIES” calling those “guns” punishing innocent people for normal actions because someone was so SCARED by the paranoia that the mere resemblance of a gun, the word gun or a picture of a gun was somehow the actual weapon.

      At least one parent actually SUED a school because the word gun was in the dictionary because of how paranoid they are about them. A direct result of anti gun indoctrination being used in place of actual gun safety when they were growing up.

      • bekindandfair

        Thank you. Usually we only hear about being sure of what you are shooting at and not enough about what is around and behind it. I am concerned about those youngsters who cannot safely handle a gun physically and that will be in the hands of their adult supervisor. Makes me now wonder if a 16 year old can take along a 5 year old. Both our granddaughter who is small and our grandson have taken gun safety and both went deer hunting, but from a fixed position. As you state, too many people are paranoid about guns. I and my sister grew up with loaded guns in a closet with no door and it never was a problem.

        • Terry Butts

          When I was growing up that was what we were taught as anything around or behind what we target could be hit when we shoot. Even the most accurate shooter can have any number of things alter where the bullet actually hits especially when hunting in the woods.

          Hopefully the parents or adult supervisor will have enough knowledge to judge correctly about the children’s abilities and make sure they are taught proper gun safety. Hopefully they will not assume anything and will actually make sure the child or children actually know proper safety.

          As you said we hear many times about making sure about the target but far to many times nothing is mentioned about paying attention to what is around or behind the target.

          What I see this doing is putting the responsibility back in the hands of parents who should know more about their children than politicians could possibly know.