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Wisconsin Senate to vote on dumping min. hunting age and sharing gun between teacher and student

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Minimum hunting age in state is 10 years old

Warnings about hunter safety once again precede a vote today in Madison.

The state Senate is poised to vote on a measure that would essentially eliminate the 10-year-old minimum age for hunting in Wisconsin.

The more troubling part of the measure for some, however, is dumping the limit of one gun between hunter and student.

“It would be very easy for the mentor that’s out there, to have their eye tracking a deer and, meanwhile, that child that’s 6 or 8 has an accidental discharge, and a hunter is dead,” Democratic Assemblyman Peter Barca said from the floor during an Assembly debate of the bill last week.

Joel Kleefisch, a Republican Assemblyman from Oconomowoc, argued the minimum age is obsolete since there isn’t one in the state to fire a gun.

“A 7 year old can be standing in his backyard while his mom does the dishes, shooting a .30-06 (30-odd-six),” Kleefisch yelled from the floor. “That’s already legal, but it’s not legal for that 7 year old to accompany his grandfather in the woods with a .22 to shoot a squirrel!”

Supporters say the bill empowers parents to make the best choices for their own children when it comes to when they’re ready to hunt.

A hunter rights instruction safety group in the state says children younger than 10 lack the emotional maturity to handle firearms in hunting situations.