Shawn Johnson and Laurel White

Wisconsin Public Radio

The state Senate tackled several high-profile issues Tuesday night, including legislation to repeal Wisconsin’s decades-old sulfide mining moratorium and allow children as young as toddlers to go hunting.

Senators voted 21-12 to allow children of any age to go hunting in Wisconsin.

Under current law, a child as young as 10 years old can go on a mentored hunt with an adult in Wisconsin. This bill would eliminate that age restriction.

Supporters of the measure argue parents should be able to decide if their children under 10 years old are ready to go on a mentored hunt.

"Current law allows a 5-year-old to go out in the backyard and shoot a rifle, a handgun, without supervision," said Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls. "So what would be wrong with allowing a five, eight, nine year old to hunt with a mentor under supervision?"

Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, joined Republicans in voting for the bill.

The majority of Democrats argued the change could be dangerous.

“A loaded gun for kids - what are we doing?” said Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison. “There is no need for this, there is no purpose in this.”

The bill, which was passed by the Assembly on Thursday, now goes to Gov. Scott Walker's desk.

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