Originally Posted by calibanman
Age is not the determining factor for me. Maturity is king. I taught my kids at 8 but there are kids in their teens that I wouldn't allow to shoot. It all depends on the child.
So true. When I was a kid, it seemed like 12 was a common age to start. My own daughter will turn 13 this spring -- I have yet to take her rifle shooting, but in the past year her ability to stay focused and make good choices has made huge leaps. So I'm going to start with her soon. We've done some archery for a couple of years, which has helped instill firing line discipline.
My nephew has a 10 year old son, and last fall the kid harvested a buck during Iowa's muzzle loader season -- for the fourth year in a row. My nephew has a reputation as a safety uber-fanatic, to the point that some of his friends refuse to hunt with him any more. Which recalls the point another poster in this thread made about watching the child and being 100% aware 100% of the time what is happening. Be like my nephew -- being safe nearly to the point of being a ***** has something to be said for it, and it never has hurt my nephew's harvest.
Kind of on topic a kind of funny: One time visiting family back in Minnesota the topic of "guns in schools" came up. To quote my father-in-law: "We had pretty strict rules about guns in school, too. First off, you had to be at least in the 6th grade to bring a gun to school. You had to unload as soon as you got on school grounds. And there was no hunting during recess." Those were different times.