BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to give kids as young as 10 years old a shot at bringing down big game, saying it should be up to their parents if youngsters are allowed to hunt some of Idaho's prized species.

That's a two-year age decrease from the current minimum of 12 years old.

But unlike hunters 12 and up, who can head out after deer, elk, bear and other wildlife alone, the younger children must be accompanied by an adult who is licensed to hunt in Idaho.

Currently, 10- and 11-year-old kids can hunt for small game, but they can't hunt for bigger prey.

For department Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer, it's a matter of parental discretion. The department has received repeated requests from parents to provide an option for younger hunters, she said.

"This doesn't mean you must go hunt game at age 10,'' Kiefer said. "This just gives families that option.''

In Idaho, everybody born after Jan. 1, 1975, must complete a hunter-education course to buy an Idaho hunting license — or else show proof of a previously held valid hunting license in Idaho or another state.

Idaho's big-game animals include deer, elk, moose, bear, wolves, mountain lions and pronghorn antelope.

Kiefer said that kids who participate in "mentored hunting'' programs for 10- and 11-year-old children have better safety rates than hunters as a whole, judging from statistics gathered in other states with similar programs.

"Statistics demonstrate that kids hunting are no more accident-prone than other older ages,'' she said. "Mentored hunters have some of the highest safety records.''

The House Resources and Conservation Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to schedule a full hearing to debate the proposal and see if they favor sending it along to the full House for a vote.

It Idaho lawmakers agree with the proposal, Idaho's age requirements will mirror those in Arizona, Maine and Nebraska, all of which allow children 10 and up to hunt. Some states, including Nevada, do not have a set minimum age to hunt.

(8) comments

mike 7s
mike 7s

I think it is all wrong.


I totally agree!! I firmly believe it should be kept at 12 years old. I've taught younger kids in gun safety and keeping their attention is almost impossible!! I can only hope that the Fish and Game is not considering this for the added revenew.........Harley

elk city

You need it to stay the same.I see that there is family s out there that want to do this but come on people we don't need 10 year old kids backing guns in the woods. The first then is they mite fall the gun go off and then someone is shot.I hunt and I would love to see this happen but I think the age should stay the same. I think its going to be a big mistake. But your going to do it anyway without our thoughts on it.


What responsible parent would allow their child to kill a living creature. It is shameful and a total disgrace. Shoot a tin can that is already dead. Oh wait, that would be too easy with no thrills. Those who kill animals have no hearts and souls and I pity them and mourn for all the injured and murdered animals.


It's a matter of brain development, or lack of. In my view, use of a any firearm should be restricted to adults only. A child's brain is just not ready for things like this.


I think that since the hunters safety course can be taken at 10, and Idaho is one of the more conservative states as far as hunting age we should allow big game for 10-12yr olds.
The regs will require that the child be accompanied by an adult.

@SKC...children have been hunting since time began. a properly raised child will know what he has been taught.
@elk city Anyone who has a gun knows that the likelihood of a 10yr old falling on a a gun & it going off is as likely as an adult doing the same thing. (or a 12yr old for that matter)
@ far as "responsible adult allowing their child to kill a living creature"...the parent that teaches their child to hunt is teaching them respect for what that creature provides for the family. It is a great & amazing thing to be able to contribute to the well-being of your siblings and parents.
@Harley~If you think the children were not ready, I hope you didn't "pass" them?


@PineTurtle - Based on the stage of their BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, adolescents are more likely to:
Act on impulse
Misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
Get into accidents of all kinds
Get involved in fights
Engage in dangerous or risky behavior

Adolescents are less likely to:
Think before they act
Pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions
Modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors


First to Josie I would like to say. If you eat anything at all you are eating a killed organism may it be a steak from the store or a piece of broccoli. And to all you other people out there saying a 10 year old cannot handle fire arms safely. My two 10 year olds have been hunting small game with me and have been shooting them since they passed their hunters safety at age 6. The children you nay sayers are talking about are the children you career minded idiots who dont beleive in a old fashion butt whipping when a child is in the wrong and dont get any respect from your children simply because you want to be their friend and and not their parent. I also have a 4 year old son and at his youg age already knows the difference from a toy gun and my real guns. He doesn't even offer to handle one at anytime unless it is ok with me and we are in camp shooting pop cans. My kids are not living a sheltered life and have been walking in the field with me since they could walk basically. Hell my 10 year olds can already track a animal as good as me, and even skin,clean out a deer and know how to handle the meat all by themselves they have been learning from me.They did it last year as I watched and not even a question was asked. And to say we are souless and cruel people just shows how simple your mind works.My family and boys are first in my priorities. And their well being and their ability to survive if they have to. So here is a question for Josie. How will you beable to survive when there is no walmart to buy things from or any grocerie stores when and if our great country falls from this crap Obama has done to unraval our country and divide it? think about that. No, If you are raised as a non hunter and never grew up doing it. It is as foreign to you as is your sentiments about this issue and you have no right telling anyone what is right for their own childeren not one bit. I don't tell you how to live and what you teach your childeren, so mind your own business and the world would be a better place for sure.As a note to childeren at 10 years old I say if they have been raised to respect firearms and understand that once you send a bullet flying through the air you cannot ever take it back and it will cause severe damage and loss of life by pulling a trigger, and can pass a hunter safety and prove they understand and posses the ability to handle a fire arm safely then A 10 year old is ready to hunt. Also any one worried about a gun going off if fell on it you shouldn't be affield your own damn self. ! when my childeren are hunting with me the first thing i do is hunt with no bullet in the chamber. The guns are not chambered until we decide we are going to take a animal. And if you hunt like me you usually have all the time you will ever need to chamber the round. Most animals i have harvested have never even had any idea i was there. And i have stalked with in a few yards of most big game animals. For my childeren we are hunting nebraska this year for their first deer. And I bet a million dollars my boys will make ethical one shot kills on the game we harvest. They shoot a few hundred rounds a year with me through the whole year camping. My son was 9 and he took a rabbit at 55 yards open sights with a 22. The key is spending time affield with your children and mine have put on many miles with me. I hunt as a whole family and my wife whole i idolize the most she never hunted till she met me. her favorite thing to eat is high country muledeer. me and her and all 3 boys hunt everything as a unit and thats the exposure childeren need to qualify to hunt at 10 yrs old. And my family are big on the respect of a animal by only taking a shot that is one kill shot only no matter how trophy sized a animal may be. But the hunter safety coarse a child should be required to take is that led by a fish and wildlife officer. They will know if a child is just being thrown in the field just because their dad has new drinking buddies that are hunters or they are the real deal. And that descretion should be left up to the officer to issues the hunters safety or not. And thats all I have to say to that.

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