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Many, most other jurisdictions allow young hunters in the woods to hunt big game...sometimes at age ten or twelve when accompanied by an adult. They can purchase their own big game hunting license and shoot their own big game. Are they more mature and more intelligent than the youngsters in New Brunswick? What do you think?
 

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It would be nice if the province would drop the age for young hunters. I don't think it would happen unless we press the issue through the fish & game associations. But don't hold your breath, maybe our kids grand kids will have the chance.
 

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I say drop the age entirely and require accompaniment by a licensed hunter. Take off the age restriction for doing the hunter education. If the kid is smart enough to pass hunter ed. let him/her write it. My kids can't hunt in NB but I can't take my kids anywhere else either that requires hunter education because they aren't old enough to take the course in NB. I've written letters to the minister of NR on both issues but got the usual response. Kids in NB are obviously dumber than everywhere else on the continent!
 

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I'll take the less popular route and say that from a personal perspective I don't think a 12 year old is old enough to be carrying a loaded high power rifle in the woods. Sure adult supervision is what people would say makes it okay but I know a lot of parents that shouldn't be carrying loaded guns in the woods either. Just because somebody else thinks its okay (other jurisdictions) doesn't mean it is. There is more to consider than just the firearms issue. What happens if Dad and son (or daughter) get seperated in the bush, does a 12 year old or a 10 year old have the maturity and presence of mind to make good decisions in that situation? Sure some might but I think we have a duty to protect the majority who wouldn't know how to get themselves found. Whats the right age? I have no idea what that is but you need to be 16 to be considered responsible enough to drive a car and nobody seems to have an issue with that. Is there any less maturity or decision making skills required to have a loaded gun. In the meantime there is absolutely no reason that children of any age can't go out into the woods on a hunting trip with Dad, they can participate in everything except actually shooting at game. Consider it an apprenticeship in woodscraft and enjoy your children's company, I'm not sure what the rush is to put a gun in the hands of a child.
Just because you can pass a written test doesn't mean you have the skills to deal with the situations. The maturity and experience to make good decisions needs to be a big factor.
 

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Just a question but if pulling the trigger is the only difference, which it is, and we are so worried about them not knowing what to do and all, then why should anyone under the age of 16 even be allowed in the woods without direct supervision, gun or no gun?

NB allows that if a hunter can pass the safety course they are deemed sufficiently qualified to hunt, whether they have any expertise/experience or not other than the course. NB however has put an age restriction on it. It is my opinion that only the parent can make the call on when and to what extent the kid is ready, age does not give you maturity or responsibilty so to put a government instituted arbitrary age on it is mute.

I would rather see a 10 year old with a rifle under the direct supervision of another hunter than a 18 year old who never held a gun until yesterday when he passed the hunter safety course. Putting an age restriction on it will never protect you from stupidity.

As to why...Go hunting and never shoot a single thing for several years, how interested will you stay. Kids get "hooked" on hunting by taking game.

Most people who have kids wish for a younger age limit, most who don't or have grown kids either don't care or don't. Why is that??

The thing is 20 years ago it never made a bit of difference. The law might of said 16 or 18 or whatever but every kid that I knew was hunting when he was old enough to hold a gun. Times have changed and most people would like to obey the law so now it has become an issue.
 

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point 1. We are worried about them because they are children and guns are adult tools and we should be worried about what they can and can't do because we are parents.

point 2 We put arbitrary ages on things because we, as a society, don't feel children would be able to make good decisions or be mature enough to handle things appropriatly prior to that age, thats why we have arbitrary ages on driving, drinking, smoking, gambling, voting, signing legal documents, posessing and using firearms and staying alone in your home unsupervised. Are you advocating for no arbitrary age restrictions, say for example 8 year olds...6 year olds

point 3. I'd rather see an 18 year old who passed the hunter safety course with a gun in his hand than a 10 year old regardless of who is supervising or what test was passed. Having said that, I agree, you can't legislate against stupidity there are lots of stupid parents, and I would say that a 10 year old is more likely (not always but generally) to do something stupid than an 18 year old. If you are asking me to fall off the fence on that one, I'd lean towards the 18 year old.

point 4. If you are teaching your children that hunting is about killing things I think (only me personally) thats the wrong message. Having said that I realize hunting is the pursuit of game and the ultimate conclusion is that some creature is dead and I do understand how anxious a young person would be to actually shoot something.I also know that as an adult I get to decide what my kids can and can't do and just because they want to doesn't mean they get to. I would venture to say there are more than a few hunters on this site well over the age of majority who do hunt for years, never shoot anything, but keep going back out into the woods every fall.

Point 5. I have 2 children 12 and 15 who are in the woods every year and no way am I putting a gun in their hands to point at something other than the .22 at silouhettes,although the youngest one is certainly making lots of noise, it ain't gonna happen.

Point 6. I absolutely agree, times have changed and in my opinion (and only my opinion) somebody was smart enough to see that just because you are old enough to hold a gun doesn't mean you should be holding it.
 

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Most of the concern revolves around descision making for a young person but if you have them under direct supervision from an adult with a licence I don't see the issue. It's not hailing distance it's arms lenght. Why is it that ONLY here in the maritimes out of all North America that young people don't have the necessary facualties to hunt under supervision?

I'm not advocating giving a 6 yr old a gun and say there, have at 'er. First they have to pass the hunter ed/firearms course which a 6-8 year old can't do. At whatever age they can pass it then they should have the basic knowledge to start hunting under the supervision of an adult. The course itself will determine the age which will be a little different for each.

"I'd rather see an 18 year old who passed the hunter safety course with a gun in his hand than a 10 year old regardless of who is supervising or what test was passed." I guess we won't agree on this point.
Why is it that if you look at the safety stats anywhere in North America you will find the lowest hunter injury stats, not just overall but capita/group under the youngest hunters? It's because they are the best supervised and therefore the safest of any age group.

I do teach my kids that hunting is about killing things and that when they pull the trigger something is going to die and the responsibility and consequences of that. It is not the only thing but it is the most important thing and the thing that makes it different than just carrying a camera.
 

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I am actually torn between both sides of this debate. I would have loved to be able to hunt at an earlier age when I was growing up and have been shooting since I was 6yrs old and was taught properly BUT and its a big but not everyone gets chances like this and there would be too many parents thinking this is just another activity to keep my kid busy "babysitter syndrome" is what I call it. Get them in everything and anything to keep them out of my hair. alot of kids around like that

As for the age restrictions...I still haven't accepted the fact that you can start driving at 16 but can't vote until your 18....explain the logic in that cause the % of responsibility is much greater operating a vehicle then marking an X on a piece of paper, not saying voting isn't important but think about the outcome for a minute.

I am sure here in NB there are lots of kids that could safely start hunting before the required age that is currently in place but there are also a lot that shouldn't be and in fact alot that are much older and shouldn't be handling a firearm either.

One main reason is just imagine home many people out there would be abusing this system. Drag your kid out hunting just to fill another tag. you think your odds of getting drawn for a moose license is bad now...imagine all the names that would be added if you could have your 12-16 yr olds applying as well

Gov't needs to restrict things to protect everyone and I guess this is 1 way they decided to do it.
 

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I'd vote for them to be licensed quicker. Can bad things happen? Sure they can, but that is always the case. I think ( and this is only my opinion) that we have unrealistic fears about what will happen to our kids and we protect them actively from statistically very low probability events but ignore most of what is actually going to be a real danger to their ultimate health.

A kid can't bike or walk to school or the playground in many households because someone could abduct them -- (take family members out of this scenario and it "practically" never happens).
Almost the only kids we see outside (without uniforms) are playing street hockey and or skateboarding ... and in many cases municipal councils and communities for a variety of reasons would like to see both of these activities stopped as well.

Find an old class picture from your youth (even if it's black and white) and compare it to a class full of the same aged children now from any School in NB and tell me that the 2010 class doesn't collectively weigh at least twice as much as the one you have pictured.

I wonder how many folks here were 18 before they shot their first deer or 16 before their first rabbit, partridge or duck?

For the record the stupidest thing I ever did with a loaded firearm in my hands happened long after I turned 18.
 

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Oh boys. I'm pretty passionate about this topic, so please don't take my comments too personally. However, I side much more closely to opening things up. First - society is raising a bunch of woosified kids - shame on you. Do you forget who won the first and second world wars? Canadians! Why were they such a force during this era, sending many boys between 16-20 years old? Because every one of them knew what a gun ws, had fired them numerous times and were proficient with them by the time they were 12. Are they smarter than kids today? I doubt it. The big difference is that they were EXPECTED to know it and do it.

Daveyn you make a great point - we can't expect kids to make wise decisions if our expectations are so low! We expect little of our kids and that's EXACTLY what we get! How can kids that live right next door to NB be so mauch smarter and safer and more intelligent at 10??? Because they are EXPECTED to be! What do NB'ers expect of their kids? Hunt with a parent until your 16. Then, once you can buy your own licence....keep hunting with them until your 18! I believe in mentorship, but we have legislated babysitting a young man (I refuse to use the word "teenager!") until they are 18. I'm embarrassed to tell any other hunters out there this - but it's the truth.

Look atthe school system and what they think our little incapable kids should be taught about SEX - yep - the same little kids so niave about guns and pointing it in the right direction seem to be very grown up to know and understand all about sex, birth control, *** rights, etc. by the time they are 12. But they aren't capable or ready for guns until they are 18? Give me a break.

Teach your kid 2 simple rules. It's that easy. DON't EVER raise your gun until you know what the target is...and then never take the safety off until you have a killing shot at the vitals. How much more complicated can you make things?

We hunters on this issue are our own worst enemies. I have lots of kids, and have taught them these since they were little. It drives me nuts when well meaning, but ill informed hunters say the sky will fall in NB if we lower the age, yet there are only 2-3 jurisdictions in all NA that have an age as high as 16...and very few ever have problems. The stats don't back up your fears at all.
 

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I'll take the less popular route and say that from a personal perspective I don't think a 12 year old is old enough to be carrying a loaded high power rifle in the woods. Sure adult supervision is what people would say makes it okay but I know a lot of parents that shouldn't be carrying loaded guns in the woods either. Just because somebody else thinks its okay (other jurisdictions) doesn't mean it is. There is more to consider than just the firearms issue. What happens if Dad and son (or daughter) get seperated in the bush, does a 12 year old or a 10 year old have the maturity and presence of mind to make good decisions in that situation? Sure some might but I think we have a duty to protect the majority who wouldn't know how to get themselves found. Whats the right age? I have no idea what that is but you need to be 16 to be considered responsible enough to drive a car and nobody seems to have an issue with that. Is there any less maturity or decision making skills required to have a loaded gun. In the meantime there is absolutely no reason that children of any age can't go out into the woods on a hunting trip with Dad, they can participate in everything except actually shooting at game. Consider it an apprenticeship in woodscraft and enjoy your children's company, I'm not sure what the rush is to put a gun in the hands of a child.
Just because you can pass a written test doesn't mean you have the skills to deal with the situations. The maturity and experience to make good decisions needs to be a big factor.
I agree with your standpoint as well. For the same reasons you have stated, and also for "NBhunters" point of adults using their kids for free tags.
And even though I believe there are a few youngsters maybe mature enough to actively participate in hunting at that age. There are many who are not. I know we are talking about adult supervision here, but still. There are other points to look at as well.
Even in the states where 12 year olds are allowed to hunt, and on some of these hunting shows. You see kids sitting in a blind playing a video game until the deer show up. Their bored!
I imagine a lot of parents buy there 10-12 year olds cell phones now.. and they probably couldn't stop talking or texting long enough to pay attention to the hunt! Heck, enough teenagers are inseparable from these gadgets these days!
I also believe that at that age some kids may still not be emotionally mature enough for the reality of an animals death. Even though their parents think they are.
And then I see photo's of these little kids in the US with giant bucks that daddy pointed out and coached and held the barrel still.. while they shot. And I think.. so what is this kid gonna have to look forward to when he becomes a teenager? To them shooting a trophy is just an easy "shot". That's shooting deer…not "hunting deer" I say, let them turn legal age, learn to use gun, and navigate the woods and go out by themselves. Stalk, sit in a tree for hours by yourself, and learn how to hunt. The way I did it at 18 years old.
I just don't see the problem with having to wait until you are old enough to handle all that comes with hunting. To me it should be a coming of age thing anyway.
The way I see it, some things are worth waiting for. Thats just my opinion.
 

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One more point I'd like to make.
And it is a little "off topic".
Before we think of lowering the deer hunting age in New Brunswick, we should be thinking more of ensuring a "place" for "any" of us to hunt!
It is getting harder every year to find good hunting spots. Most of the deer are around communities.
Bow hunting is a little easier around these areas. But if I were still rifle hunting, (In my old stomping ground) I would have to be really working hard to find the few key buck haunts that are left. And there would probably be a trailer parked there anyway.
Now doe's.. no problem.. on my lawn for instance. But bucks they keep getting more scarce every fall.
And if a ""spike does show his head in rifle season, he is in big trouble!
And in the big woods on crown land, it's downright scary! When you can take a summer drive out the crow hill road and back the mill road to Millville and not even see a deer, this is a sad state of affairs.
The Gov't would just love to have all the 10 year olds buy licenses. $$ But they don't give a hoot if they have anything to hunt. You can't expect to have a huntable game population without first protecting their habitat. We need game management. That means setting aside gated areas exclusively for hunting only. And an 8 point rule on those areas. And yes.. I would be willing to "pay my way" in! I'd even take a kid with me, to show him what a big buck looks like!

Sorry for straying slightly off topic.
 

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I don't know how I feel on this.

I have been hunting legally since I was 13 years old. I carried a loaded .22 or 12ga with my father hunting, many fond memories to be sure.

At 6 years old, my grandfather would take me out in the yard, and we would plink tin cans all day long. He would help in holding the weight of the rifle, and I learned to shoot. I learned responsibility, and safety.

The thought of rifle season nowadays frightens me a bit. I have seen hunters snapping a rifle up at a noise in the woods. I find that there is a significant lack of respect for other hunters, and the lands we hunt on. I have seen blinds that look like a land fill with all the garbage laying around. I have seen people attempting to vandalize vehicles, and dwellings.

I agree as well that people would use the kids to bag another deer, but where do we draw the line? If a 13 year old is allowed to have a deer license, should we allow them to enter the moose draw? What about bear hunting?

I think I agree with a hunter having to wait till the age of 16 to get a big game license, because for the most part, it is a socially accepted age of responsibility.

Just throwing this out there... the 8 year old carrying the big bore gets tired of carrying the gun. Dad has to carry it, and is now in violation of a few game laws. What happens when the enforcement officer steps out from around the tree?
 

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Great topic. I just wanted to say that I think that kids that spend time in the outdoors in general make for more well rounded individuals than those who do not. I loved Bradley's example of class pictures, too true.

Does a kid have to shoot a deer at 12 in order to get "hooked" on hunting? Absolutely not. However, I would like to see the following changes:

Minor's License and Big Game
The Minor's License should be focused on the apprenticeship of young hunters which starts long before 14, and I also believe most of you would agree with me. Now, if you did make changes, let's say lowered the minor's license to 12, then I might think about moving the age for big game hunting (deer and bear only). Any kid wishing to hunt big game (again excluding moose, different ballgame) would then have to show 2 years of previous hunting experience (2 years small game minor's) and then have to accompany an adult until 18.

Changes to Accompanying a Minor

This being said I would recommend that anyone who accompanies someone under the age of 18 needs to have taken hunter and firearm training (or respective bow hunter safety if bow hunting only). Currently adults that accompany have to show 2 years experience (license for two years). That also means that they may have never actually taken a hunter safety and firearms training course. I think everyone should have to sit through the course before taking a kid to the woods to go hunting. This may help to keep only a few bad habits from getting passed on, but I'll take those numbers.

I would probably not agree to any changes to the current system that doesn't mirror what I have said here.
 

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To me its a no brainer - NB is way behind the curve when it comes to youth hunting. If you want to have a future for hunting, you need to promote youth hunting. Young hunters should be able to hunt big game in New Brunswick, in some form. Obviously, they would need to be accompanied by an older , hopefully well trained, experienced hunter. 50 states, and all the other provinces are wrong, and New Brunswick has the right approach to youth hunting? Not in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, When I introduced this topic, I was sure we'd get hunters offering varied opinions on the subject. That is the beauty of such a forum. We may not always agree on a topic but we can offer ours and resspect others opinions. It has pros and cons on both sides of the argument but...personally, I am in favor of lowering the age for big game hunting in our province...at least so they can hunt deer and bear. As someone stated previously, moose would be an exception, mainly due to the restricted lottery draw we have. Statistics show that hunters throughout many jurisdictions are shrinking in number, annually and if we don't introduce youngsters to hunting...then we'll lose them to other interests long before they turn sixteen. Statistics across this continent also show that young hunters who have taken the necessary safe hunter courses and who hunt with/beside a "responsible, experienced" hunter hunt as safely as do older teens and adults. I started hunting at an early age as did my son and daughter. My guns were easily accessible but we never worried about our kids bothering them or playing with them. We taught them to respect guns and what they were capable of in careless hands! Yes, I am sure there would be some who would use their children's tags for extra deer...but many of those same people...poach anyway...extra tags or not! Our kids are as intelligent as any...anywhere and allowing them to hunt big game while supervised by an experienced adult wouldn't/shouldn't make what we have left of our deer woods. more unsafe.
 

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Here's a few questions for government:

1. Can anyone there give me a logical explanation as to why you can hunt small game at 14, deer at 16 and moose at 18??? You are using every bit as dangerous of a gun for any of these game - why the separation?

2. Why can't a kid who is capable of writing and passing the hunter ed tests at 10-13 be able to take it here so he can hunt in other states that allow it? How else can this kid get certified to hunt other places where he's allowed?

3. Why must young hunters 16 show proof of past hunting experience for TWO years?

4. Why, after this kid shows proof of having hunted with an adult for the past 2 years, must he then CONTINUE to hunt with an adult the NEXT two years when he's 16 and 17 years old???

Guys - it's one thing to be archaic on the youtrh hunting, but these laws are just plain dumb. And we must be just as dumb to let government tell US that this is the way it must be.
 

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I think by the time a kid turns 16 they should be aloud to hunt on their own. I'm 17, I go shoot a 3D deer target by myself with a bow, many probably don't see this as a problem, the only thing that gets hit is a foam deer target. Whenever i squeeze the release I know that there's no person or animal behind it.I never go out looking for things to kill while practicing. So why can't I hunt on my own? I have my hunter education and bowhunter education courses, I know I'm a responsible hunter, I KNOW that I'm going to make sure what I'm shooting at and what's behind it, I have 3 years experience and never put any person in any danger while in the woods. What happens if my dad had to work overtime or has another commitment? I can't go hunting. I know I'm mature enough to hunt on my own. But since our society doesn't seem to trust "teens" for some reason, i have to sit on the couch and wait for another week to pass before i can go hunting.
 
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