Young Hunters Should be With an Adult
After a 14-year-old hunter shot and killed hiker Pamela Almli on the Sauk Mountain Trail last August, WTA got right to work to change Washington state law regarding unsupervised hunting by minors.
To that end, WTA supports Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles' bill SB 5559, which would require hunters under 16 to be accompanied by an adult.
This is common-sense legislation. Children age 15 and younger aren't allowed to drive, and they shouldn't be allowed to fire guns without adult supervision. Current state law allows hunters of any age to fire guns without an adult present. Please let your state legislators know you support this legislation to make our trails safer. It just takes a moment to send a few e-mails. Read more in this Seattle Times article.
Almli was shot by a 14-year-old who was bear hunting with his 16-year-old cousin on an extremely popular hiking trail. It's not uncommon for young hunters to experience "buck fever" and lose critical judgment before making the decision to pull the trigger. Certainly, some young hunters are competent, responsible hunters. But it's not an undue burden to expect them to be mentored and accompanied by a trained adult until they come of age.
Other legislation introduced this session--including bills with lower age limits and a ridiculously impractical law requiring all hikers to wear hunter orange in any hunting area in the state--are confusing the issue.
It's simple. Kids 15 and under shouldn't fire guns without adult supervision. We've heard this message from our members, and we're working hard to pass legislation this session.
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Photo: Hiker Pamela Almli, who was shot and killed on Sauk Mountain by a 14-year-old bear hunter unaccompanied by an adult. Photo by Lois Peterson.