Deer Hunting: How Young Is Too Young?

November 4, 2005 – Posted at 5:19 p.m.

JONESBORO, AR -- Hunters in Region 8 are gearing up for deer season...and for many youngsters it will be their first time in the woods. While there is no minimum age requirement for hunters in the Natural State... supervision is required.

Any hunter born before 1968 must have a valid hunter's education card, and anyone going hunting this weekend under the age of 16 must have direct supervision from someone with a hunter's education card, over the age of 21.
Outfitters like DNW Outdoors in Jonesboro was very busy Friday with last minute shoppers.
“We’ve had a lot of fathers are in today picking up last minute things to get their kids ready to go deer hunting this weekend,” said owner Dennis Noell.
There is a one deer limit for this weekend's hunt but the prospect of a child walking around with a gun is a little unsettling which begs the question... how young is too young to be in the deer woods?
“It just depends on each kid and how much experience they've had and each adult and how comfortable they feel with the kid and handling firearms,” said Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officer Keith Rook.
Maturity level can make a big difference for young hunters, but the rules are the same.
“You have to make sure that your safety is on, making sure that your kids know at all times where to be pointing their guns, and to never point a gun at anybody,” said Noell.
And Arkansas Game and Fish Officers agree, it's never too early to learn hunting safety.
“If you start kids early and teach them the right and ethical way, then usually they end up as adults a lot safer and ethical when they grow up. And hopefully pass that on to other kids,” said Rook.
The youth hunting season started in Missouri back in 2001, but this year will mark the first year for the season in the state of Arkansas and the age limit for this weekend's hunt is 16.