Michigan Hunting Age Lowered

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Hunters as young as 12 will be able to hunt deer, elk and bear with firearms under legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The legislation lowers the minimum age for hunting large game from 14 to 12. The bill also lowers the minimum age for hunting small game such as squirrels and rabbits from 12 to 10.

The bill calls for younger hunters to hunt only on private property and with a parent, guardian or authorized adult age 18 or older.

Another bill Granholm announced signing Monday establishes an apprentice hunting license, letting new hunters temporarily bypass a safety class and go on hunts with experienced mentors.

The bills are designed to help Michigan recruit new hunters.

Supporters of the legislation say getting children involved in hunting at an earlier age teaches them proper stewardship of the state's natural resources and encourages children to stay active in outdoor activities.

The number of Michigan hunters has remained roughly the same for 40 years, but the percentage of the population that hunts is down.