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Don’t let the title fool you, the term "baby deer hunting" is not about grown men out hunting fawns. At least not in this article. What I’m talking about is little kids out hunting deer with guns taller than they are. Allow me to say that I am not anti-gun nor am I anti-hunting. It’s my personal belief that there is a time and place for both. That being said, only an idiot could think that high powered rifles and kids are a good mix.

When I saw the latest in a number of pictures in the local newspaper of kids holding the heads of dead whitetail deer up by their horns, I gave one of my women friends a quick call that is known to have a trophy rack or two hanging over her fireplace. Being less than knowledgeable on the subject, my goal was to find out what was up with parents who were taking their five year old kids out to kill animals. Knowing that she is a responsible mother, I felt that surely she would consider kindergarten age children hunting with guns a severe safety hazard and I wanted to hear her opinions on the subject.

I told her the reason for my call and after a minute of silence, where in retrospect she was probably wondering if she might be risking losing her privileges at the camp house, she informed me that the practice was called by those in the know "Baby deer hunting." Before going any further, knowing that I maintain a blog, she made me swear that I would not mention her name or tell where I got my information. I could easily understand where she was coming from. When you are prone to hang out in dense forests filled with crack shots, you can’t afford to have a lot of enemies.

After I was sworn to secrecy, she started to unload on the topic of baby deer hunting. Here are the basics of what she shared with me. WARNING: if you are one of the guilty parents who have been hauling your kids under the age of 12 with you into the woods, her comments are not going to make you feel very good about yourself.

She said:

Kids who have never taken a gun safety course should not be hunting. There have been studies that baby deer hunters (under 19 years of age) are responsible for 50 percent or more of firearms accidents. Children have trouble making the distinction between real guns and toys and point accordingly. Furthermore, dads (and moms) who would put the gun on the shoulder of a their child so that he or she can kill an animal are irresponsible idiots.

And here’s another little tidbit of information; your fellow hunters don’t enjoy the company of baby deer hunters. The animals they kill or the ones that you bring down and say that they killed fail to impress. If you are doing this to make your friends think that you are a big man to have raised such a mighty hunter; please know that it has the opposite effect. Your fellow club members may not show it, but they dread the sight of you and who could blame them? Buying deer rifles for kids is not cool.

My friend said that she remembered one such incident where a man in her club pulled this stunt and while bragging in the clubhouse, the baby deer hunter seemed to reflect his father’s enthusiasm. Later, she heard the child crying in the bathroom. How traumatic would it have been if that same young person had accidentally killed another hunter?

The moral to this lesson is that it might be best to teach kids about deer rather than take them hunting while they are young. Spend time with them and teach them to appreciate nature. Take them into the woods and show them the scrapes, rubs and tracks and prepare them for the day that they will be old enough to join the hunt. Leave the guns at home. Your fellow hunters will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If your toes have been stepped on, I apologize. You are welcome to your opinions and I wish you the best success with your parenting methods.

Return to Family, Parenting, Environment Issues and Kids to see more articles on the challenges facing the modern family.


Anonymous said...

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Stephen said...

Kid shouldnt do hunting, it could bring danger. I like your this post.

A $mile in your blog, and now waiting for your $mile in my blog. :D