I figured the folks here would like to read this. This is only about half of the original article, the paper print version had much more after this cuts off.
My take is that the 10/11 year old kids most definitely should be required to take the gun safety courses. Just having their guardian in the stand with them is not enough. IMO some adults are very poor at knowing and following the laws, and a kid who just learned about it from the course probably would tell his dad that he isn't supposed to do certain things.
http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdo ... 62114.html
Minnesota's young guns: Can they hunt safely?
The answer lies with parents, who can now train their 10- and 11-year-olds how to shoot wild game.
By DENNIS ANDERSON, Star Tribune
Last update: November 7, 2008 - 6:01 AM
Dennis Erickson has hunted game as varied as white-tailed deer and ruffed grouse for 30 years. Gun safety is important to him. He's never had an accident and never intends to.
So when Erickson, of Wyoming, Minn., accompanied his 11-year-old son, Drew into the woods before dawn Oct. 11 on the first day of the state's early antlerless season -- with Drew toting a 12-gauge Remington pump shotgun outfitted with a rifled slug barrel -- the elder Erickson was confident he could guide his son to a safe outing.
"I feel comfortable teaching him," Erickson said.
The Legislature is betting other parents of 10- and 11-year-olds feel the same when the state's firearms deer season opens on Saturday. A law change last session allows kids that age for the first time in modern history to hunt deer and other big game in Minnesota using high-caliber firearms and slug-shooting shotguns without first passing a hunter education and firearms safety course.
The intent is to hook kids on hunting before they are overly beguiled by computers and other gadgetry, and team sports.
Not everyone thinks it's a good idea -- even though the youngsters must be under direct supervision of an adult licensed hunter, and the older hunters must be within an arm's reach of their protégés.
"The main risk I see," said Capt. Mike Hammer, hunter education coordinator for Department of Natural Resources, "is that for many young kids, the frame of reference for firearms is toy guns, not real guns. And kids playing with toy guns don't care what they point them at. Many don't know the concepts of muzzle control, keeping your finger out of the trigger guard and keeping the safety on. Constant reminders regarding gun safety by an adult would be needed."
A review of Minnesota firearms hunting accident records between 2002 and 2007 suggests Hammer's concern might be warranted.