DETROIT (WWJ) – Kids under 10 years old can now head into the woods with a gun and a licensed hunter over 21-years-old, and hunt for small game.

Dennis Fox with the Department of Natural Resources said it’s all part of Michigan’s new hunting program to encourage kids to learn to love hunting at an early age.

DNR Director Rodney Stokes said sales for hunting and fishing licenses have been down about one percent each year for the last decade.

“This is something that other states are experiencing also, but we want to make sure we reverse that trend, because those hunting and fishing licenses help us maintain and manage the natural resources of this state,” said Stokes.

Fox said the new “Mentored Youth Hunting Program” hopes to change those statistics.

“The youth has to be within arm’s length of the mentor, and the mentor has to ensure that the hunting device is sized properly to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safety and responsible handling. You know, they’re probably not going to be out there with a big 12 gauge shotgun,” said Fox.

“They’re going to be using some of the smaller gauges, like .22’s and .410’s, that are going to fit their body size. The same for if they’re using crossbows or regular compound bow,” he continued.

Fox said the program is geared toward parents and other adults who want to teach children hunt and fish, and lets the adult determine if and when their child is ready to hunt.

With the license, youth hunters under the age of 10 will be able to hunt turkey on private or public land, deer and small game, trap furbearers and fish for all species. The youth license goes on sale Thursday and costs $7.50.

A law signed last year by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder eliminated the minimum hunting age in the state.

Supporters of the law said the move helps control Michigan’s deer population and promote safe hunting habits from an early age. But many opponents say giving a child a firearm is overall a bad idea.

For more information on the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, visit

Comments (31)
  1. bs1 says:

    “many opponents say giving a child a firearm is overall a bad idea”

    Yes, it’s much better to ensure the only exposure to guns that children get are from TV and gangs…

  2. patricia roehrl says:

    americans are so funny………… can’t drink a glass of beer till you are 21………..but you can go to war at 18………and kill an animal at 10

    1. Indeeds says:

      Well think, you can drink at essentially any age if a guardian allows you. Same with hunting. So it’s not as ridiculous as it appears.

      1. farquar says:

        I do not believe that contributing to the delinquency of a minor, even your own child, is legal, at least not in any of the many states I’ve visited.

    2. DB says:

      Then stay out of our country!

  3. Mike Picker says:

    No wonder America has more school shootings than any other country.
    You should be teaching children to resepct life rather than encouyraging them to destroy it.

    1. Indeeds says:

      Seriously? That argument is absolutely unfounded. Fewer percentages of us hunt now than before, and yet school shootings are on the rise…. care to explain that? I was taught respect for firearms at a young age, and someone who is exposed to hunting also realizes the absolute carnage they cause. If anything, you’re less likely to shoot someone because you know what will happen.

    2. Aaaacccc says:

      So it’s better to eat meat they never connect with killing from a store, sterilizing the whole process. When you hunt or farm and slaughter your own meat, you are more in touch that a life was killed to provide you food. It’s not easy and it’s not something to waste.
      How many happy meals get thrown in the trash? That’s rea
      Respect and loving for the animals who get factory farmed raised.

    3. DB says:

      Respect for firearms should also be taught. The problem comes from parenting, not the gun.

    4. sherri says:

      You are very naive, kids who learn respect for any firearm or weapon are less likely to harm themselves or someone else. Many families rely on hunting for basic sustenance. all hunting in any state is carefully watched over by each states game department. also ethical hunters eat there game, which is way better for you because there is no antibiotics no preservatives, generally way better than beef. Children need to learn respect for both people and guns.

  4. b_rox says:

    The sooner they are taught gun safety the better…

  5. Chris says:

    You know, they’re probably not going to be out there with a big 12 gage shotgun,” said Fox.

    “They’re going to be using some of the smaller gauges, like 22′s and 4-10′s, that are going to fit their body size. The same for if they’re using crossbows or regular compound bow,” he continued.

    First of all its “gauge” not “gage” and second a .22 is not a gauge. .22 is a caliber, gauge only applies to shotguns and its .410 not 4-10. You would think that someone writing an article woudl do some research or at least get assistance from someone with firearms knowledge. Oh wait, that’s right, if you have no knowledge then you can just pass judgement on others.

    1. Bill says:

      Actually, .410 is a caliber also.

      Gauge refers to the number of bore sized pure lead balls that will equal a pound.
      12 ga, 12 balls….etc.

  6. Janice says:

    I grew up in a hunting family and started hunting at around nine. We always had guns around the house. But when I understood that dead is dead, I quit hunting with my family. I know how to use a gun and I can use a gun. Do I have one now? No. My farther taught us to respect and have a great deal of caution around firearms. There are never any romance or mystery to a gun in my family. They were just loud, heavy and extremely dangerous and that was driven home to us. Parents are responsible for teaching their children and my father believed that bad things happen when a child is not taught to respect other people, how to safely handle guns, proper swim rules or how to ride your bike safely in the street.

    1. DB says:

      Well said. People always want to blame the gun and not the parenting when something happens. It drives me nuts. If you don’t think your child is ready at 10, or any other age, then don’t introduce them to guns. Nobody is saying you have to let your child hunt.

    2. Another Punk says:

      I think it’s great, America needs to get back to it’s heritage and values and this is one way to help. I’ve also read the Squirrel is the most under utilized game animal in America so it’s a great way to feed the hungry.

  7. Melissa says:

    That is all we need, more kids with guns!!!!

  8. Aaaacccc says:

    It’s video games and other similar activities, disconnecting shooting with death. That plus kids somehow getting access to guns unsupervised. We never hear much about how the shooter got the gun.
    When they see killing something is real, not glorified, sanitized, and the guns kick back, I have yet to hear that kids raised reponsibly caused the out of control shootings.
    Up until recently, kids hunted to put small game on the family table. Never heard of mass shootings by kids until the age of tv and video games.
    If you have, would love to know

  9. Mike Wicks says:

    This is just wrong. Giving guns to kids when they should be learning how to use a bat and glove, or how to kick a soccer ball. I grew up in Michigan and I never wanted to know how to shoot a gun. We all see what happens when young kids have guns now. Teach respect for guns, but that’s it. Ten years old is too young.

  10. IrisInTheOzarks says:

    Children as young as 6 are pictured proudly displaying their “kill “in all the local newspapers in SW MO. It’s always been this way. I grew up with guns, competed in shooting events (very successfully) and have and know how to use one.I live in rural area with no close neighbors where an emergency law enforcement response would exceed 30 min.I am in my 70s.Gun safety is taught in the public schools usually in middle school.Kids carry and use shotguns, rifles,small weapons during various hunting seasonsIn 2008 people were terrified that an Obama presidency would result in knocks on doors and confiscation of guns and voted accordingly (OK, its all GOP alla time)Things here will never change

  11. farquar says:

    The first firearm that I fired was a 8 gauge shot gun at 8 or 9 years old. I never wanted to fire that shot gun again. My mentor thought I needed to experience true and brutal violence to have proper respect for firearms.

    Then he taught me to shoot a 22 rifle and once he was confident I was safe I was allowed to shoot all I wanted as long as I bought the ammunition.

    I learned to shoot very well that summer.

    I’m twice qualified as an expert marksman by the military, but I have no desire at all to own a firearm today.

  12. Roger says:

    It is funny how so many people keep saying how extremely important is to teach a child at a early age how to “respect” a gun! Really? To respect an inanimate object used to kill living things?? What about teaching the kids how to respect LIFE FIRST, humans and animals and THEN to warship an object! There is nothing better to disensitize children with killing animals, you know to prepare them for the real world!!! And yes, guns do not kill people but people kill people, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier to kill as many people or animals in a very short time! Do you think that parents and family of all those kids killed in school shootings think “gee, guns had nothing to do with this sllaughters”. I bet it is almost impossible to kill 15-16 people using a knife (unless you are RAMBO or everybody in the room is passed out!!)!!Seriously, guns are only objects and do not need RESPECT!!!

    1. Jason says:

      Kids need to learn to respect guns just like they need to learn to respect the power of a kitchen knife, open flame, table saw, electrical outlet, or any other dangerous thing. My niece is under 10 and has already shot 2 deer. She knows what a gun is, how it works, what it does and how to handle it safely. Does she have open access to guns? No. Is all she thinks about is guns? No, she plays organized sports, is learning horseriding, and is active at church. Frankly, she basically ignores guns unless it is time to go deer hunting. Frankly I would feel safer with her having a loaded gun in my presence than posters like Roger, Melissa, Mike Picker, or patricia roehrl.

      1. Roger says:

        Thanks for the insults, but then again when people post something against guns the “gun freaks” feel the need to bring others down…it is all about feeling more powerful, you know, having a gun and feeling macho! Good job!

  13. NoMo says:

    These kids will be able to survive when the SHTF and commerce is dead. The “self-entitled” think they will just come take what ISN’T theirs, and the ones with the guns will be able to defend themselves.

  14. Michele says:

    How about hunters in Michigan learn some respect for private property–then I’ll believe they can responsibly supervise their children’s hunting. We own an 80 acre farm in Southeast Michigan. It’s posted “No trespassing” and “No Hunting” but every year we have hunters out there anyway…This fall, there were even truck tracks onto the farm where someone cut our fence and drove over our winter wheat to hunt. Two years ago, I caught a guy about to head out with his rifle onto the farm and I told him I’d call the police if I caught him out there (we actually live in a no-gun hunting area, on top of it all!). Mr. Trespasser/Hunter said, “Would you really call the police?” Like it was some terrible thing to do… They seem to think they have some right to hunt wherever they want to.

    1. twang says:

      Its call being neaborly

  15. twang says:

    The nazi’s are already in control. When the shirt hits the fan,the anti gunners are’nt gonna have much of a chance. I guess they have no surviival instincts. I hope they dont expect all us “gun nuts” to potect them

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t own a gun and never will. But, hunting is a necessity for some to live and for population control of some animals since their natural predators are mostly gone. Living in Maine I know the dangers of too many deer, both to drivers and to the deer when there is not enough food in the winter.

    That being said, it is the gun owners responsibility to keep it locked up and unavailable to anyone but themselves. Those who do not, and whose child takes that gun and harms someone should be subject to the same charges as that child. Period.

  17. Another Punk says:

    Studies show that an armed civilian population tends to see decreased crime rates.

  18. hiiku03 says:

    I’m confused as to how allowing kids to hunt small game will help control the deer population (mentioned in the last paragraph). Last I checked, deer weren’t small game.

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