This past deer season Wisconsin did away with the states minimum hunting age. A lot of people were not on board with this decrying that Wisconsin was trying to arm toddlers. What they failed to relies is that 30 something other states do not have a minimum age requirement, so what Wisconsin did was nothing new. So for first time children under ten were able to buy hunting licenses.
The Chicago Tribune posted a click bait article titled, 10 hunting licenses issued to Wisconsin children under a year old after Scott Walker eliminates minimum hunting age. Over all it seemed like mostly fair article focusing on the facts, but the headline is definitely targeting outrage. The newspaper is not stupid putting that kind of title on a hunting story is guaranteed to get clicks by the urban non-hunting public.
Even with the biased headline they still had some good information that proved that the predicted carnage proposed by those against the elimination of the minimum hunting age was completely unfounded.
The biggest argument Opponents of eliminating the minimum hunting age used was that putting guns in the hands of young children would be dangerous for them and other hunters that was a non-issue. No one was killed during the season, although seven hunters were wounded, but no young hunters were involved. (Five idiots shot themselves)
Here is a breakdown of the numbers. 1,814 mentored hunt licenses were sold to children age nine or younger. The vast majority — 1,011 licenses — went to 9-year-olds. Fifty-two licenses went to children under age 5 and 10 went to children under a year old.
A 4-year-old was the youngest licensee to successfully harvest a deer and Five-year-olds registered seven deer. And absolutely no infants registered deer. I doubt many even went out and those 10 licenses are now pasted in a scrapbook with some title like “Jr’s First Hunting License.”
The tribune article did make another glaring mischaracterization of hunters. I am not sure if they did it on purpose. In the article they insinuate that perhaps it was adults that were pulling the trigger and not the children.
It’s not certain that the children actually pulled the trigger, however. Harvest data doesn’t show who actually pulled the trigger; an older hunter could have killed the deer and registered the animal under the child’s license.
In most states this is flat out illegal, but in Wisconsin they allow group hunting. Where a hunter can kill a deer for another member of the hunting party. But there is a caveat that a mentor may not fill any of their mentee’s deer tags. So even that would be illegal.
So I ask is The Chicago Tribune suggesting that there were multiple poaching incidents with absolutely no probable cause. It appears so.
I do not expect pro hunting articles from an urban newspapers, but I do expect them to be fair. I think they tried but their personal bias shined through.