If all goes as planned for freshman legislator Rob Stafsholt, Wisconsin’s traditional gun deer hunting season will open Saturday with a twist that’s raising concern around the country.
Under legislation that Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign into law this week, kids of any age will be allowed to hunt deer and carry their own gun when accompanied by an adult — no training required. Previously, kids had to be at least 10 years old to hunt with a mentor and the two had to share a weapon.
Stafsholt said that of 42 states with mentored hunt programs, 34 don’t set a minumum [sic] age. In addition, Wisconsin was one of only four of the 42 states to limit the mentor and youth hunter to a single gun.
This story is a little dated. Walker signed it into law today. While there is certainly a minimum age at which kids are mature enough to hunt or handle a firearm, that age is very subjective and specific to the individual child and family. Frankly, parents have a much greater vested interest in ensuring the safety of their kids, so it makes sense to put this determination in their hands. I suspect that when we look back at this in five years, we will not see any change in the safety record of Wisconsin’s hunt.