Parents chime in on decision eliminating state's minimum hunting age
The State Assembly passes a bill eliminating Wisconsin’s minimum hunting age.
"I think we're losing sight of why the original law was put into place, it was put into place to protect children," said Joe Slattery, a concerned parent.
Slattery opposes the measure. Right now the minimum age to buy a gun-hunt license is 12 years old, but children as young as 10 can be part of a mentored hunt.
This bill removes the minimum age from the mentored hunt program and eliminates the requirement of only one weapon between hunter and mentor.
Jordan Schuld is an avid hunter with five kids. He believes parents know their children's capabilities.
"Each parent knows their own child and knows when they're ready to go out in the woods, if they're able to hold the gun weight wise and if they're responsible enough to handle it," Schuld said.
Schuld doesn't agree with the entire proposal, he still favors a mentor hunt having only one gun.
"I just don't think that there should be two weapons between the parent and the child, I think a mentor hunt is a mentor hunt, and if you have two weapons it's not a mentor hunt anymore, two people are hunting," said Schuld.
The Wisconsin Hunters' Rights Coalition says 34 other states have no minimum hunting age, which includes neighboring Michigan.
According to the Michigan DNR, studies show if children do not have an interest in an activity before the age of 10, it is unlikely that they will continue that activity later in life.
"As a parent, I would like my child to have the same interests as mine, but if they don't-- they're their own individual," said Slattery.
Slattery says this legislation would lead to more hunting accidents, like the one that took the life of his son.
"You can get them involved at six, by taking them hunting with you, that's perfectly legal right now, you just don't have to put a gun in their hands, my son was killed at the hands of another 13-year-old," said Slattery.
"If one my kids seem ready and they're under 10, I'll absolutely take them hunting, if not, I'll wait," said Schuld.
The State Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week, if passed there it would head to the Governor's desk for his signature.