When the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday proposed setting 7 as the minimum age for kids to get tags for hunting deer and turkeys, some people asked the obvious question:
“How many kids that young are actually killing deer and turkeys?”
We wondered the same thing.
The state’s mentored youth hunting program since 2006 has allowed kids of any age under the age of 12 – the minimum age for buying a hunting license – to hunt certain game, while under direct supervision of a licensed adult.
In most cases, we’re talking about parents or grandparents.
The board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday voted to tweak the program so that kids of any age under 12 still can hunt turkey and deer, but the state will only issue tags to kids age 7 and older.
If kids under 7 want to shoot turkeys or deer, their mentors have to transfer their own tags to the kids.
Many hunters and hunting organizations, such as the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, want the program to remain as is, with no minimum age placed on the program.
They call such limits “barriers” to hunting.
For example, they said, what if a parent has more than one kid under 7 who wants to go buck hunting?
In Pennsylvania, the parent can only have one buck tag, so only one kid would be able to shoot a buck.
While those who oppose any minimum age have been getting all the media attention, the commissioners said they’ve heard from plenty of hunters who agree with their proposal.
They said some even sent them comments stating they believe no kids under 12 should be allowed to hunt deer.
For those of you out there, like us, who have been wondering how many kids under the age of 7 have been out hunting deer and turkeys, here’s a table showing, by age of the hunters, the number of those animals reported to the Game Commission during the 2013-14 hunting season.
The numbers reported here don’t indicate the number of kids – or adults – of a particular age who were out hunting.
The list only shows how many animals were reported as being shot by hunters of a particular age.
Given historical data, more animals likely were shot, because Pennsylvania hunters are notorious for not reporting their kills to the Game Commission.
(By the way, even though we’re focused on kids, it’s interesting to note there was one buck last season reportedly shot by a 99-year-old woman.)