Utah Proposes Lower Minimum Age for Big Game Hunting
What is proposed?
- Reduce the minimum age requirements for hunting big game from 14 to 12.
- Utah's requirements for hunter education and adult supervision will remain in effect.
Utah has the most restrictive youth big game hunting regulations in the western United States.
Why make the change?
According to the national Youth Hunting Report compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation:
- Youth hunters (ages 6 to 10) are safe. In 2002, with 1.7 million young hunters spending over 15.3 million days in the field, there were 77 hunting-related shooting accidents reported.
- Hunting in general is safe. Statistically, the number of people injured or killed in hunting-related shooting accidents is similar to the number of people injured or killed by lightening strikes.
- Youth hunting rates are declining and now is the time to facilitate participation and aggressively recruit new hunters.
- Youth recruitment is less successful in states with higher youth hunting restrictions.
- The minimum age for hunting small game in Utah was eliminated in 2006. More than 2,500 hunters age 12 and under hunted small game in Utah during 2006 with no reported accidents.
- Reductions in hunter numbers will harm the hunting economy and adversely affect conservation.
On November 22, 2005, the Utah Wildlife Board endorsed reducing the minimum age for big game hunting from 14 to 12. Public sentiment at Regional Advisory Council meetings generally supported this change to the minimum big game hunting age.