VANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A hunting accident is prompting a call for a minimum hunting age, but the proposal has run into some unfriendly fire.
State law allows a child of any age to shoot game as long as a parent or guardian is no more than an arm's length away. Last Thanksgiving, an 11-year-old shot his father in the face and arm with buckshot meant for a deer. Now, the
Fund for Animals
organization wants North Carolina to make 16 years old the minimum hunting age.
Norm Phelps, of Fund for Animals, argues "it's unrealistic to expect a hunter education class to make up for a child's lack of emotional maturity." Many hunters disagree with that proposal.
"If you don't let a kid hunt at 16 or before 16, he's not going to start at 16," hunter Wally Davenport said. "He's going to be doing other stuff. He's going to be getting into other trouble. We don't want that. We've got enough of that around here."
"I want my grandkids to hunt with me. I have four grandkids. I want all of them to hunt with me," hunter Walter Simpkins said.
When young hunters apply for a license, North Carolina requires them to enroll in a hunter safety course.