View Full Version : First Hunting Rifle for Young Deer Hunter

February 2, 2005, 06:43 PM
My son started shooting when he was 5. He used the Rogue River "Chipmunk" .22 (built for the Little Guy size), and has learned well about firearm safety, muzzle control, etc. He's now 8 years and old went with my on my spring turkey hunt this year, did most of the calling and really enjoyed himself during the campout and hunt.

This fall I want to take him on his first deer hunt, but I'm thinking he might just be old enough to try it out for himself. What do you think, what suggestions might you have? What might be the 'right' rifle for a boy his age?

February 2, 2005, 07:36 PM
if you think your son is old enough to hunt theres a good chance he is. as for a rifle go with a .243 or a 7mm-08 there are quite a few companies that make em in a youth model and you could put a 3-9X32 scope on it to keep it smaller. take him with you when you go rifle shopping and make sure to get the right ammo and let him shoot lots.

bill k
February 2, 2005, 07:41 PM
I took my grandson who is 4 and his dad hunting this past season. I watched my grandson while my son in law hunted. Does that count as my grandson hunting? I say yes, he was in the woods having a great time. Cody and I were fixing lunch when we heard a shot. His dad called on the radio, deer down. Cody, his dad and I spent the rest of the day taking care of the deer. When we got it validated he told the forest service guy it was his deer.
As far as hunting himself it won't be till he's 14, I believe that's the age limit in Calif.

February 2, 2005, 08:44 PM
I may be in the minority, but I really don't think it's a good idea before roughly age 10, and preferrably closer to 12-13.

Your family's your business, though.

February 2, 2005, 09:05 PM
I have taken my kids as soon as they wanted to go hunting. They can't carry a gun and hunt until age 12 (small game) and 14 for deer hunting. I think we all consider them hunting even if they are just along for an education of what to do. I should state that this is Michigan game law ages. Your state might be different.

As for the first deer rifle his will be a single shot NEF. I have just grown real fond of these American made fine shooting guns. My son will likely start with either the 30-30 or the 243. These are youth sized around 5.5 pounds and a little shorter for ease of the smaller frame hunter.......good luck :D

I have a nice older Bushnell 3x9x32 that should sit up top and do real well for him.....

February 2, 2005, 09:13 PM
I have 2 boys 9yrs old and i got them a cricket .22 youth rifle a year ago, taught them how to safetly use them, accuracy and safety again. I took them squirel hunting this fall, didn't hit a thing but they were real good with the rifles :)

February 3, 2005, 07:43 AM
I was 9 when i got my first gun. A stevens crack barrel 20 guage. After I shot the 3in mags we used for duck hunting I swore never to shoot again.....1 1/2 weeks later I killed my first duck. I take my son out hunting, he 5 now, I was going since I was a baby, I consider him having a late start. His first gun will have to wait until he can practise better safety and pay more attention. It really depends on "maturity" level on when to give someone their first gun.....

February 3, 2005, 02:15 PM
I voded 5-7 only because there wasn't a 3-4 answer listed. Early childhood hunting shouldn't involve the child having to carry a gun; just going along and watching the deer and getting used to the idea should be enough. (I believe small children should be trained to fear and respect the noise of a gun before they can walk, just as they should be taught to swim before they're out of diapers, then the process of training them to actually use guns should be drawn out until they're about 10-12, about the same age they should be working on their Boy Scout marksmanship and swimming merit badges.)

Once a child gets to be 5-6 they should be able to participate some in actually helping squirrel hunting (by standing on the other side of the tree to scare the squirrels out), but their deer hunting should be mostly learning to watch, listen and stay still until they can actually see a deer harvested. Then they will start to learn to help prepare it as food.

They should continue to go with their parent but not actually shoot until they are old enough to be able to take serious marksmanship training...10-12.

Think of it as a stepwise progression and not an either-or proposition.

February 4, 2005, 10:47 PM
I really didn't find anything to disagree with in the postings. Get them in the field to observe and be part of the hunting experience as soon as possible. State laws will generally limit actually shooting at game. If not it means a good evaluation of the kids responsibility by the parents.

The single shot rifle thing has really caught on both with adult and youth hunters. I have a couple of NEF centerfires, a Rossi 357Mag (Which has an additional safety), and on the Remington site I noticed they hava a line of single sots from Spartan Gunworks. The Remingtons are about $50-$75 more than the NEF, but they are a good looking gun.

February 5, 2005, 08:20 AM
For my 11 year old's deer rifle a got a tikka t3 in 7mm-08. The gun is very light and is mild in recoil. One thing to think about in a younger shooter is they don't usually have a lot of arm strength so if a guns very heavy, they won't be able to shoot as well. I am very happy with this gun.

February 5, 2005, 08:44 AM
Our kids always went with us hunting,If you are asking how old a kid should be to pull the trigger I would have to say it depends on how well they can shoot and handle a firearm.We started our kids shooting early.My oldest son shot an antelope when he was ten with my 25-06 at 300+ yards,I gave him that rifle his next birthday.I like the smaller calibers like 243 7mm08 25-06, these are for me as well as women or children.If you can shoot straight you don't need a cannon.If you get them a bolt gun it will last a lifetime.

February 6, 2005, 11:49 PM
Yes, I agree. My son might be old enough to shoot rabbits, squirrels & gophers but maybe too young still to handle a deer rifle. On our turkey hunt last Spring, he did the calls and had a blast just being in the woods with his dad and his uncle. We camped, hiked, fished, canoed and hunted. He enjoyed every minute of, and so did I having him along.

I want his experience in the field to be fun and enjoyable. I don't want him to shoot any firearm so powerful that it scares him and makes him not want to go. Instead I'd like to ease him into it by just enjoying the experience of 'being there.' We camped out Scout style, we did canoes and fishing and I oriented him to the habits of various wildlife and let him observe.

As Christopher is already generally familiar with .22s and with the basics of firearm safety, he is enthusiastic and receptive. He always want to learn, and like many Dads, I want his experience as he shifts into different phases, to be a positive one. So I'm going to do most of actual hunting but he'll go with me every step of the way and then over the years as he can handle more of the elements, he'll graduate into shooting.

The difference with us is that we like both bowhunting and rifle hunting. So we'll have fun with both and I'll "ease" him into it.

THANKS for all your comments and suggestions!!