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Dads, how old for son to hunt alone?

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Dads, how old for son to hunt alone?

Old 11-21-2013, 05:27 PM
  #1  
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Default Dads, how old for son to hunt alone?

As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you ask for?"

Our gun season opens Saturday morn and I was just talking a moment ago with my youngest son (he was 13 in May) and asked him if he wanted to hunt with me or did he want to sit in his own stand? He honestly sounded eager to get a chance to finally hunt by himself!

In his defense the boys not a newbie, this will be his 4th season, he's killed 7-8 deer including 3 wall hangers, he's 6ft tall, a great athlete, never been a minutes trouble and in general just a great "All American Kid" but dangit that don't make it any easier for me to realize that I'm just "an old man who can go be alone now"! For some reason I NEVER felt this way with his older brother (who is 18 and is essentially a "fair weather" hunter who can take it or leave it).

My 13 yr old REALLY enjoys hunting & fishing and I've encouraged him from day one. He's a self imposed "trophy hunter" and has already let several 100-120inch bucks walk earlier this year during the juvie gun weekend. He can handle and shoot lights out with his Rem 7600 7-08 and the only stands I have on my place besides ground blinds are shooting houses with stairs and commerical 12ft 2 man ladders with rails and a few 10-12ft tripods. So I guess I'm answering my own question about the safety aspect but I still just wanted to hear from other dads about when and how they made their decision?

When I was 13 I was carried deer hunting 3x by my step-father. Then the following season as a 14yr old I was given the keys to a 3 wheeler, dropped off at the farm on Friday afternoon after school and then picked back up Sunday night. It was me, my bow, an old Warren & Sweat climbing stand and I literally learned it all by myself. I look back now and think, "DAMN my parents either had WAY to much confidence in me, were ignorant of the dangers or they just wanted me out of the way!" Now I'm NOT ready to drop my son off at the farm for a solo weekend but still... I don't know what to think or say!

What did you dads do?
HL
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:36 PM
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I can't offer any advice since I'm not yet in your shoes. I'm a bit cautious though so I think 13 is too young to hunt alone. BUT...I may have another opinion whenmy child reaches 13.

Once a kid thinks they got the hang of something, they are always chomping at the bit for that freedom to do it by themselves.

All I gotta really say is SIX FEET at age 13?! You grow 'em BIG!
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:41 PM
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My oldest is 10 and we're currently in the hunting together stage, but I would say it has more to do with his maturity than anything. From what you've said, he sounds like a great kid who may have earned the right to hunt alone.

Now by that I mean, he can sit his own stand etc. but I would not start dropping him off at the edge of the woods and letting him have at it. I would want to be hunting the same general area with him.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:44 PM
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Well... My Grandfather had me out on my own with his 12 gauge at age 11 (1971).

That said, the PC hunting police have already made those decisions for us in MN. today... A young hunter has to, by law, be 14 years old before they can be out on their own.

I'm not sure about the laws in your state. But if it's legal, the greater question is the one you have to answer... Do you believe that he's ready??? I believe you've already answered that!!! If it's legal, cut him loose... Sorry Dad
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by KonKata
All I gotta really say is SIX FEET at age 13?! You grow 'em BIG!
lol KK yeah, we growem big. His 15yr old sister is 6ft, his 18yr old brother is 6'5 240. (I'm 6'4" 250 and my wife is 5'9" xxx both of us have tall parents and family so it's in em)

Nitro I agree, he's not ready to be put out on the complete opposite side of our place just yet (625acs) and I'd be within 1/4-1/2 mile usually and always within radio or text reception!

I guess I'm just having the hardest time with "our baby" being old enough to start doing for himself and of course that puts me in a new chapter of life and I guess I never thought about it before because it's sure struck me hard tonight! I always thought I'd be READY for this day but now that it's here I'm in a "weird mood" about it. I don't know, can't even really describe how I feel.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:49 PM
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Depends on the kid, but this one sounds like he can certainly handle it. I started leaving my boy in the stand and (trying) to drive deer toward him when he was 12 - - but I was always within sight, and never more than couple of hundred yards away.

We've hunted in separate stands at the same time, a few hundred yards apart, in the intervening couple of years.

But your kid sounds more than ready for it.

My best friend and I were turned loose by our fathers when we were 13, and we really got to hunt for real "by ourselves" when we hit 16 and could drive.

But that was a different time (a time when we could leave shotguns in our cars in the school parking lot to dove hunt after football practice)....I digress....

You son is ready, man.

And congratulations for it; he isn't ready by accident. You've done a good job.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:59 PM
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[QUOTE=HatchieLuvr;4100436]lol KK yeah, we growem big. His 15yr old sister is 6ft, his 18yr old brother is 6'5 240. (I'm 6'4" 250 and my wife is 5'9" xxx both of us have tall parents and family so it's in em)
QUOTE]

Holy cow! I was lucky to reach my last growth spurt and hit 5'2''!

I think you gotta go with your gut. Its bitter sweet when you cut them loose. You're sad but proud at the same time.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:29 PM
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In west Virginia you have to be 15 per regulations to hunt on public or land of others, without a license adult with in sight.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:18 PM
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I began hunting young, its not like he is going out afield alone, just in his own stand.....

At 13 he should be fine to sit in his own stand from what you say, this isn't his first hunt he has bagged deer, knows the rules, routine, and identification along with judgement on what is a doable shot and whats not....

He is totally old enough and experienced in my book to sit in his own stand.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:59 AM
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In Michigan the youth has to be with in unaided eyesight of an adult(18). I am not sure at what age they can go off on their own.

My property is such that I could see my son at 100 yards with unaided eyes and he would still be able to see deer I didn't. He was 14 before he expressed a desire to have a stand of his own.

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