Like all other controversial topics, you will have people that have strong opinions on both sides of the issue. One thing to think about is that times have changed and parents/society are much more protective than they were in the past (you've heard of helicopter parenting, right?) In the "good old days," it was nothing for young Jimmy to go out and help hunt for the family they all had to eat & everyone had to pull their weight. I can picture the smile of a young boys face clutching the rabbits he brought home to mom for supper. As far as I know, that doesn't happen much if at all these days!
What else is there to think about? How responsible is your child? Have they grown up around hunters and are they use to being around firearms? Not every child is ready to hunt alone and accidents can happen to anyone, including adults. No matter how much you think you child is prepared, I believe they should still take a hunters safety course before hitting the woods alone.
Check out this article from Mike Stuckey that he wrote back in 2009 after a tragic hunting accident that happened in Washington when a teen was sentenced to 30 days in juvenile detention after fatally shooting a woman he mistook for a bear.
Some states have no hunting age requirements for big game hunting, but most states have a minimum hunting age requirement for young hunters. Be sure to research the big hunting game laws in your state for any and all requirements for getting young hunters in the field.
Most states require some sort of hunter education course and firearms safety instruction is a must. Every youth hunter should be familiar with the firearm and it's safety before venturing out to hunt.
Firearms safety isn't the only thing to consider, tree stands can also pose a huge danger. Serious injury and death have also come from falling out of a tree stand. There were an estimated 4,000 tree stand fall accidents nationwide in 2015. A Pennsylvania study found falls from stands that were 17 feet or less off the ground were most survivable. Tree stands that were 24 feet off the ground or higher involved the most deaths.
Whatever you decide for your child, go over the dangers, consider hunting with them for another year or two and above all else just stay safe (everyone wants to come back home after a hunt) and have fun of course!
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