Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
Australians Might Let Children Hunt Solo
Australia might change a law to allow children as young as 12 to hunt alone. You know, like in the old days here in America, when Grandpa took his squirrel gun to school and hunted on the way home, or like you’ll find out in an upcoming R. Lee Ermey (Yes, the Gunny talks to Realtree!) interview, when he tells us he stashed his little squirrel gun in a culvert, got on the bus, got off the bus after school, retrieved the gun and hunted all the way home – so that his family could eat wild game.
According to BBC News Magazine, the state-run Game Council of New South Wales is advising the government to allow youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to hunt solo for feral pests on public lands, using bows, dogs and knives. They would be allowed to use bows on feral pests, and knives on pigs. Australian children must be more educated in knife hunting than ours are. Also, when I checked the listing of feral pests at the Australian government's website, it included red fox, cat, rabbit and goat.
Proponents of the amendment to the New South Wales Game and Feral Animal Control Act say youth can be taught to hunt responsibly, and should be taught to do so. Opponents, like David Shoebridge, a member of Parliament for the Greens, said, "The very clear intent of the gun lobby is to normalise firearms. They want to see firearms as just like a tennis racket, just another piece of sporting equipment. They want to de-link firearms and the violence they cause from what they see as a legitimate sport of hunting and shooting.”
To which I say, “What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with normalizing the use of firearms for the tradition of hunting and consequently, teaching children these skills responsibly?”
How about you? If you hunted as a child, when did you first hunt alone? What age would you agree is the best age for a child’s first solo trip, or do you think it depends on the individual?