Wisconsin moves to lower hunting age to 10

  • Article by: RYAN J. FOLEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: June 18, 2009 - 5:19 PM

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin lawmakers moved Thursday to lower the hunting age by two years to 10 and offer youngsters reduced license fees in an effort to preserve the state's hunting culture.

Under the plan approved by the Assembly on a voice vote, anyone 10 or older could hunt with an adult mentor without taking a safety course beforehand. The pairs could have only one gun or bow between them and must stay within arm's reach of one another. Mentors would have to be at least 18 and have hunting licenses.

"It's important for us to include young people in the activities that a lot of us hold near and dear," said Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, who has pushed for years to lower the hunting age. "This is about our heritage."

The mentorship program is designed to attract not only more young hunters but adults who want to "test drive" the sport, said Randy Stark, chief conservation warden for the Department of Natural Resources. He said he expects to see more women hunt with the program.

The plan was approved by the Senate 27-6 last week and now goes to Gov. Jim Doyle. The governor's spokesman said he supports the bill but stopped short of promising to sign it.

"The governor appreciates the tradition of handing down hunting from one generation to the next," spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said. "We're just going to have to take a look at the language once it reaches his desk."

Thirty states have no minimum hunting age and 28 have created apprenticeship programs similar to what is proposed in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, which lobbied for the bill. The state programs vary in minimum age, safety requirements and license fees.

Minnesota already allows kids as young as 10 to hunt big game in a change of law that went into effect last year. It allows youths 10 and 11 years old to hunt deer and other big game in Minnesota with high-caliber firearms and slug-shooting shotguns without first passing a hunter education and firearms safety course.

The youths must be under direct supervision of an adult licensed hunter, and the adults must be within “arm’s reach’’ of their proteges.

Minnesota also allows youths 10 and under to hunt small game, if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The Wisconsin measure comes in response to concerns that there may be fewer hunters as young people lose interest and aging baby boomers give up the sport. The program would start Sept. 1, in time for the fall deer gun season that attracted more than 640,000 hunters last year in isconsin.

The original plan would have kept the fees for youth at current levels, which are $20 for a deer license and $9 for a small game license. But both houses adopted an amendment creating a $4.25 license fee for children who are 10 and 11 in an attempt to attract more interest.

The DNR estimates the bill will mean at least an additional 9,200 hunters in Wisconsin every year. Current law allows children who are 12 to hunt under adult supervision if they have passed a safety course. Hunters who are 14 can go out alone.

Many apprentices will probably decide hunting is not for them, Stark said. But others may decide to take safety courses to receive licenses to hunt on their own. The DNR charges $10 for the course and expects an additional 2,000 people to enroll each year.

Rep. Ann Hraychuck, D-Balsam Lake, a hunting safety instructor, said hunting with a mentor "has proven to be the safest way for kids to hunt."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close