Guns Hunting

Dad is taking our 11 year old son to the shooting range where he has sent me video of our son shooting a 9mm and 380 to prep him for hunting deer. I don’t think you use hand guns for that but anyway. Today they are out in the woods with compound bows deer hunting. My son is very sensitive to death and I’m concerned he isn’t emotionally ready the ‘kill’ and the field dressing. I don’t think this is illegal and I don’t think there is anything I can do about this? Or is there?? Is 11 a good age for guns and hunting?

Eleven is fine.

There is nothing wrong with hunting. It’s one of those things that you either take to, or you don’t. If the boy doesn’t take to it, then the father will quite easily pick up on that and stop taking him hunting. If he loves it, then he’s going to learn a great deal about a craft that is important to millions and millions of men and women. I very much doubt that the father will force it upon him in future hunting outings if it is obvious that he is squeamish and uncomfortable.

You are correct, you do not use a handgun to shoot deer, but learning to aim on multiple weapons is not unusual. I shoot competitively and belong to a gun club and see children as young as 8 shooting all manner of firearms there. But the issue is not his shooting at a range, it is the kill and the bow.

Compound bow hunting is MUCH different than shooting and if you are not an excellent bow hunter, you should not be going after any animal with a compound bow. The horror of a misplaced bow is just outrageous and irresponsible.

I have good friends who took their children hunting long before 11, but they were raised to expect that and view deer as food, not Bambi. If your son views him as Bambi then it won’t matter if he is 11, 22, 33…the kill would be concerning and hurtful to his soul.

If you have a amicable, working relationship with your ex, then I would talk to him about the impacts it might have on your son and ask him to delay it. If he is a jackwagon that is going to do what he wants, then I would take cues from your child, but don’t go looking for trouble by asking things like “Did it upset you to kill a deer?” when he gets home. Just see how it goes and if he is traumatized, then work with a therapist and escalate. But I doubt very much you’ll find a judge who will just ban a father hunting with his son so long as the father is following the letter of the law on the hunting side of things.

Appropriate activities for children are not usually based on age but on maturity and sensitivities. If a party has legal custody, this means that they have the ability to make appropriate choices about the activities in which a child participates. If going hunting causes your child serious distress, you may seek a court order that the other party must refrain from taking similiar trips.