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Intro to Research


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Bill John
Introduction to Research ~ Research Project

Hunting Age

Introduction to Research
John Bill
BUSC 315
Research Project
Bill John

Hunting Age
“Turning kids into Killers?”

According to Rob Keck, a famous author, “If you go the route of using a range finder, don't make the mistake of trying it out for the first time when you're turkey hunting. A little pre-season preparation at home will go a long way toward success later.” Quotations. “Rob Keck quotes”. Quotations Online 1 Sep. 2010. 26 Oct. 2010 <http://einstein/quotes/rob_keck/>.
I believe what Rob meant by this was the sooner we teach hunting to the youth, the longer they will be engaged and the better our animal conservation will be. The sooner we get youth into the field under a controlled environment, with a gun in their hands and an adult by their side, the better off they will be in two years when they’re hunting by themselves. This research paper is about the current hunting age issue and the impact it may have on a forever-long tradition of hunting. Martin Merereau, who is the director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Cruelty Investigations Department in Norfolk, VA, posed a question in one of his articles called Turning kids into Killers: “Based on a new Wisconsin law: How low will hunting lobbyists go?” What Merereau is referring to is the recent law passed in Wisconsin which grants 10-year-olds the right to carry a bow or firearm if accompanied by a mentor. Mersereau is against the law for many reasons. The reduced hunting age law was recently changed from 12 years old to 10 years old in Wisconsin. Since 2004, more than 12 other states have also reduced the hunting age from 12 to 10 years old and over 30 other states do not have a minimum hunting age. “Teaching children how to kill can be downright dangerous – and not just Bambi and his friends,” Mersereau proclaims. He also continues on stating some facts from the International Hunter Education Association of hunter- related injuries and fatalities. According to them, of the 6,650 hunting related accidents gathered since 1994, only 35% included hunters 21 years old and older. I believe this statistic persuaded Mersereau to believe that the other 65% were from youth hunters less than 21 years of age. That statistic alone speaks for itself and is part of what has Mersereau frustrated. According to an analysis by Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel, it found that young hunters were more than twice as likely to cause accidents as older hunters. During hunting season in Georgia this past year, statistics showed four of the five fatal incidents involved children or teenagers. Among those killed was an 8-year-old boy who died after shooting himself in the chest with a shotgun.
Martin Mersereau continues in his article how some of the younger hunters out there are deliberately taking aim at humans and focuses in on the 11-year-old Pennsylvania boy who allegedly killed his dad’s pregnant fiancé earlier this year. Jordan Brown’s dad bought him a 20 gauge youth shotgun for Christmas that he used on Valentine’s Day to win a shooting contest and later used it to shoot and kill his dad’s fiancé in her sleep.
Another interesting piece of information I found while researching his article pertained to the school shooting incidents in earlier years. Turns out, every person ever involved in earlier school shootings practiced their skills on animals and were considered hunters. This makes sense to me being an avid hunter and developing a drive and motivation to hunt wild animals, it is something that does not go away. Not that it is truly related to the shooting incidents, but I can see how the people involved in the shootings learned a great deal about firearms through their hunting experiences. Martin Mersereau. "Turning kids into killers." McClatchy - Tribune News Service 8 September 2009 ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.
According to Martin Mersereau in his article, “Is handing a ten-year-old a gun the answer?” According to a letter he wrote the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, they say, "No.” And they quote, “The group reminded lawmakers that young children are not developmentally ready to safely handle a gun while hunting." They warned that causing harm to another living being, intentionally or not, can lead to long lasting emotional disability for the kid involved. Maersereau also quotes, “Putting both children and the community as a whole at risk just to boost declining hunting numbers is appalling. In this culture of escalating violence among teens and even children, do we really want to desensitize young people to suffering, give them guns and teach them how to kill?” Martin Mersereau. "Turning kids into killers." McClatchy - Tribune News Service 8 September 2009 ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.
Bottom line, Mersereau does not believe handing a 10-year-old child a gun is the answer to the nation’s decline in hunting numbers. According to the International Hunter Education Association, statistics show from 1975 to 2006, the amount of hunters dramatically dropped from 19.1 million to 12.5 million members. Many believe the only reason why most states around the United States are reducing the hunting age limit to 10 years old is solely to boost member numbers and save a dying breed of the hunting tradition. I agree. After researching the information on the hunting age topic, reading testimonials of long term Hunter Safety Course instructors and applying personal experiences, I can see where Martin Mersereau drew his conclusions from.
According to CRAIG D REBER. "10-year-old hunters." Telegraph - Herald 1 Sep. 2009, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2010, supporters of the new law feel the change will bring more youth into hunting sooner and will in time preserve the hunting tradition. Critics have their doubts. Many long-term hunting safety instructors feel 12 is too young let alone 10-year-olds.
Throughout Reber’s article, many disagree with Wisconsin’s new law and feel a 10-year-old should be walking around with a bb gun instead of a shotgun or bow. The main reason why I think opposed people feel the way they do involves gun etiquette and overall firearm safety. They believe, as well as me, that younger kids need to be taught about how the gun works, why it works the way it does and the consequences of misuse. What it comes down to is the fact that 10-year-olds are now allowed to carry a firearm while hunting next to dad prior to completing the Hunter Safety Course which is typically done at age 12.
According to DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark of Wisconsin, “Many, many people worked very hard to pass this bill over the past three sessions of the Legislature. The program is designed to provide potential hunters with a new and safe opportunity to ‘test-drive’ a hunting experience under controlled conditions prior to attending hunter education. The legislation passed 27-6 in the Senate and 91-6 in the Assembly.” CRAIG D REBER. "10-year-old hunters." Telegraph - Herald 1 Sep. 2009, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2010. Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources explains the new law best. Rules for the hunter- Must be at least 10 years old. - Must have the appropriate valid hunting license, permits and tags. - Only may hunt while within arm's reach of a mentor -- regardless of the hunter's or the mentor's age. - Even if they have passed a hunter education course, 10- and 11-year-olds only may hunt with a mentor and must comply with the mentorship program rules. Rules for the mentor - Must be at least 18 years old. - If born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must be a hunter education course graduate, or have completed basic training with the U.S. Armed Forces. - Must be the hunter's parent or guardian, or have the permission of the hunter's parent or guardian before taking a person younger than 18 hunting. Rules for both - Only one firearm, bow or crossbow (if eligible) can be possessed jointly by the hunter and the mentor.

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