Boy's Death Proves Hunting & Kids Don't Mix

Connor BartlettThis past weekend, Connor Bartlett, 7, went on a hunting trip with some members of his family. After calling it a day, they were packing up their things when his father put a rifle in the back of the car. For some reason it discharged, and a bullet struck Connor. The second-grader died later that evening.

There are no words for how much grief this family must be experiencing. To one minute have the bright, bubbly boy out spending time with his father, and the next to have him dead because of a horrible, horrible accident. And while blame in a situation like this doesn't help anyone, learning from it can help prevent similar tragedies. The lesson: Young children and hunting just don't mix.

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I don't care how much safety training there is or how many precautions are taken, letting children use a lethal weapon is just asking for trouble. Children are too impetuous, too unreliable, and just too young period. In the case of this particular accident, the bullet could have hit anyone, young or old, but hunting accidents happen more often than we'd like to think to people of all ages -- so why put a young child, who by their very nature is more at risk, in such a situation?

I don't have a problem with hunting in general. I eat meat, and I know where it comes from, even if I don't necessarily like to think about. So as long as it's being done for the right reasons -- to consume the meat and not just to collect trophies -- I'm fine with it ... unless it involves children.

I know plenty will disagree. I grew up in Nebraska where weekend hunting trips are what fathers and sons do; I even went hunting a few times with my dad. And there is a certain beauty to spending time outdoors together, forging for yourselves, and enjoying the sport. But not at 7, or 8, or 9. As children mature and enter the teenage years, then perhaps that's a good time to start, but kids still in elementary school are just too young to be around guns. 

Do you think young children should be allowed to hunt? How young is too young?


Image via KREM

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