Up North: Wisconsin Eliminates Minimum Hunting Age

Eyewitness Sports
November 21, 2017 10:38 PM

Exactly one week before the Wisconsin deer hunting firearm season opener, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill eliminating a minimum age requirement to hunt in Wisconsin. The newly signed law has received a lot of attention, whether it be positive or negative.

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"I guess to me, my feelings are it's all about the young people. Everybody being out in the woods," said Dale Kuhlman of Custom Archery.

"Am I 100 percent for it?  I don't know that I am," said the manager of Superior Shooters Supply, Pat Kukull. "On the other hand, let's give our mentors some credit about knowing what they're doing too. Wisconsin is so steeped in this family tradition of hunting, so that it's part of it too," she added.

The law had previously required someone to be at least ten years old to participate in a mentored hunt. The new law allows children younger than 10 years old to hunt, if they are accompanied by an adult mentor and stay within arms length of their mentor.

"The parents could, you know, mandate your kids, and say, 'No, you're not gonna.' We talked earlier with somebody that was wanting their five-year-old daughter to get to go out and shoot a deer," said Kuhlman.

"I've seen eight-year-olds here that have more poise with a firearm than a 30-year-old. That's true no matter what you do, but it's all about giving the parents the authority," added Kukull.

One of the most recent age changes in Wisconsin came more than three years ago when the law eliminated the age and disability requirements when hunting with a crossbow. The law in Minnesota states that you have to be sixty years old or older to hunt with one, or have a disability permit from your doctor. Those Minnesota restrictions are what Wisconsin eliminated.

Another part of the law change is that hunters and mentors will now each be allowed to have a weapon. Before the change, the young hunter could shoot, but had to use the weapon of the mentor. 

All hunters must have a license. Any person 11 and under can purchase a mentor license, but is still required to hunt under the mentored hunting rules. Anyone 12 and up will still purchase the appropriate license for their age group.

Any person born after Jan. 1, 1973 must complete a hunter safety course in order to purchase a hunting license. If the person has not yet completed a certified safety course in any state, they may purchase a 'mentored-only' license.

Any person sold a mentor license is subject to the mentored-only restrictions, regardless of their age.



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