Good pointWhen I was 3 my dad bundled me up and took me out with him deer hunting. At the time he was doing it because mom had to go to work that day and there was no other way for him to be able to go hunting. I guess he never thought much about it till I brought it up to him 32 yrs later and told all I remembered about that day and how I was fairly certain it had a lot to do why I developed a strong love for the outdoors and hunting. He looked shocked and said he barely remember that day, and he recalled that we never saw anything. I told him it was the fact that he took me with him that made it a memory I'll keep forever and then I reminded him that we saw a fox, several squirells, and while we were walking to the stand in the dark we about stepped on a covey of quail and both of us jumped and was sure the world done blew up. Dad just cocked his head, smiled and said "We did didn't we!"
I say if you take him out knowing that its about spending time together then its never too young. If the intent is to kill a dear then its probably going to be a waste of time for both of you.
Accident's would be my concern also. Why even expose them to the dangers in the woods? Take them to a ballgame or take them to the park, take them fishing. There's plenty of ways to bond with a 3 year old that don't involve the risks inherently associated with firearms and other hunters.As with many things, extreme care should be taken when taking little kids out--they're so curious and have lots of energy. We've heard all the horror stories about ATV's, but I can also relate a story about a kid we took out several years ago. My very good friend took his son--2 or 3 years old---on a muzzleloading trip. After the morning hunt, as we were walking out, I went ahead to a thicket, and some of the others were going to attempt to walk through and run deer out. As soon as I got to the other side, I heard a shot, so I waited patiently for the rest of the group to come through from the other side. A little while later I looked over beside the thicket and I saw them carrying something----it was Colin, the little boy. As I approached them, I could see that his face was covered with blood. What happened was, as they were waiting for me to get set, curious little Colin said he wanted to look through the scope of his uncle's muzzleloader. The uncle, a wonderful guy, and one who I would trust with anything, agreed to let him look through the scope. While looking, Colin reached up and pulled the trigger and the gun fired, the scope striking him in the eye. Why was it cocked? Or was it cocked???? I don't think anyone knew, but we made a flying trip to the doc, and all turned out well. He's now 13, and he's one of my favorite hunting buddies. We've been on many hunts together, and I'm always reminded of that incident when I see the scar on the side of his nose. Please be careful. Accidents happen, and yes, I'm sure this one could have been prevented, but that's why they call 'em accidents---not "on purposes."