I would be very grateful for members thoughts and experience as to "how young is too young" to start youngsters taking live quarry with air rifle / shotgun?
My lad has accompanied me progressively from airgun shooting in the back garden, to rough/hide shooting with the shotgun to several successful (and many unsuccessful) stalks since he was four. He's now almost eight, as keen as mustard and a competent airgun shot at targets in the back garden with a specific junior air rifle (HW30S). Indeed, it's reached the stage where if he had either an air rifle of sufficient power to do the job (his HW30S is only ~8ft/lb and not really up to the job unless [bird] head shot under 25 yds [rabbits are totally out of the question with that sort of low power]), I've been having to really reign him in / discourage him from moving onto live quarry, either with airgun or shotgun.
I'm aware that I could for example, purchase a junior .410 on my own ticket and VERY CAREFULLY teach and supervise him on clays and the like until I can trust him sufficiently to prospectively also VERY CAREFULLY and closely supervise his assistance with my controlling the collared doves (explicit requirement from the landowner on one of my permissions) around the barns. I would actually even have him initially taught at the local clay school as I did with my daughter - although she has not pursued any further, pursuing ballet instead - although still liking an occasional outing with me.
I'm aware there is no lower age limit for which I could apply for my lad to have his own shotgun certificate and that there are examples where children as young as seven have been granted. These are however the exception rather than the norm and it still being relatively infrequent use for the time being, I'm not sure its worth complicating matters with a shotgun certificate app for him until a few years time. Indeed, as explained, I could purchase a specific junior .410 (Yildiz do a lovely junior O/U) on my own ticket and VERY CAREFULLY teach and supervise him in its use for the next few years until it feels the right age (~10?) to apply for him to have it on his own ticket.
On the one hand I don't want to hold him back and on the other, push him on to too much too young.
So, would be most grateful for other members thoughts and own experience with their own youngsters. Many thanks in advance