Wisconsin wildlife now have pint-sized hunters to worry about.
Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill eliminating the minimum age provision to hunt in the Badger State, allowing children younger than 10 to participate — as long as they’re accompanied by an adult, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Licenses for the peewee deerstalkers went on sale Monday, ahead of the state’s nine-day gun deer hunting season.
The law had previously required children be at least 10 years old to hunt while accompanied by an adult mentor.
“It’s not the government’s job to tell parents that,” state Rep. Joel Kleefisch said, showing off photos of his young daughters hunting. He said he had to head to Michigan when he wanted to take his 8-year-old hunting under the previous law.
In Wisconsin, hunters still need to be at least 14 and have passed a safety class to hunt alone, but the mentoring provision allows kids younger than that and who haven’t passed safety classes to join in.
The mentor must be at least 18 and must stay within arm’s reach of their charge.
The bill also allows both children and mentors to wield guns and bows. Previously, adults and kids could only carry one weapon between them.
Longtime hunting safety instructor Ray Anderson told the outlet he thinks mentors should leave their own guns at home and focus on the child they were teaching.
“How can you full attention be on the child? It can’t,” he said of mentors looking to hunt. “That’s how accidents happen.”
Wisconsin is the 35th state to have no minimum hunting age.