Don't Take My Kid Hunting!

Sasha Brown-Worsham
43

People hunt all the time and, as a meat eater, I really can't complain.

After all, I've seen Food, Inc. and read Fast Food Nation; I know about the slaughterhouse nastiness and why we should be eating organic meat from local farmers.

I don't even have a problem with hunting, really. As long as the full animal is used, I am hard pressed to find a difference between that and venison one might buy in the butcher shop. In fact, it's probably the healthier way to go.

But something about this photo on the left bothers me. The boy, who looks about 10, is smiling next to his father and a deer carcass. It's great that the father and son are spending time together and great that they're doing it outdoors, engaged in sport (and not PlayStation), but the thought of my young son doing anything more violent than watching Star Wars doesn't sit well.

We could debate the merits of toy guns and violent video games all day long and I don't expect my children to stay completely sheltered from violence. I'm not the mom who will keep her son away from all violent play since it's pretty much an impossible feat.

But I will not let my young son hunt. And my husband agrees.

It's one thing to allow our child to play with a toy water gun or even a toy regular gun. It's another to let him actually hunt. Children are notorious for not being 100 percent honest about their feelings. They will tell you you look fat in your cocktail dress in a New York minute, but when you want to know if a movie scared them, they will just shake their head, eyes wide.

A 10-year-old boy who has seen Bambi and been to a petting zoo isn't going to tell his Daddy who he admires that watching him shoot, kill, and skin animals scares him. He's going to ask to do it and want to be part of it. But he's just too young to get it.

To a certain extent, it could be viewed as a life lesson and teaching a child to fend for themselves is important, but not at the price of a childhood. Why can't it wait until the boy is 16? By then he will have a better head on his shoulders (one would hope) and be able to understand the difference between killing for fun and killing with purpose.

And what about the effect killing for sport would have on a very young mind? It isn't a video game or a fictional movie. It's the real deal. Bambi is dead. Why does a 10-year-old need to see that?

Hunting may be fine, but give the kids a few years before they join you. Their psyche will be grateful.

Do you think hunting with young kids is OK?


Image via  journeyguy/Flickr

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