Wisconsin lawmakers looking to eliminate minimum hunting age - WNEM TV 5

Wisconsin lawmakers looking to eliminate minimum hunting age

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How young is too young to grab a gun and hunt?

The Wisconsin State Assembly is considering a bill that would lift the age requirement for the state's youth hunting program, allowing even toddlers to hunt with a parent.

It's a rooted Wisconsin tradition, but at what age should children be allowed to hunt?

"It's not so much a question of age, as it is, maturity,” hunter Jim Ferrell said.

Currently, the state allows kids as young as 10 to hunt with their parent or guardian at their side. However, some lawmakers want to lift the limit and let parents decide when their child is old enough to hunt.

"I think parents are the best ones to make decisions about their children,” said Rob Stafsholt, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Stafsholt's bill would let any child, no matter how young, hunt as long as there's a parent or mentor within arm's reach. However, the bill is drawing heat from Democrats.

"Well I don't think there are too many people in the state of Wisconsin who think it's a great idea to let 4- or 5-year-olds hold a firearm to be able to hunt in Wisconsin,” said Gordon Hintz, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Many think the law should stay as it is, but Nate Wolff said he'll know best when his young son is ready to hunt.

"If that's10, if that's shooting a gun before that, when I feel he's comfortable to shoot is when I will take him out,” Wolff said.

The NRA, the Safari Club, Whitetails of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and Wisconsin Force -- a group of shooting range owners -- have all registered in support of the bill.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is the only group to register in opposition.

Three Republicans voted against the bill, while four Democrats voted for it.

The measure now goes to the State Senate.

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