I am new to this forum, and pretty new to trapping, other than cage trapping vermin over the years. The reason I am now taking up trapping, other than to diversify my land-based livelihood, is because my boys 5 & 7 are wicked into it.
The older one has been using rat traps, building #4 dead-falls, and cage traps for a couple of years now. He has a real knack for it. We are all intrigued by the challenge of reading sign, understanding habits, and habitat, and trying to catch a target animal.
Last year we caught 5, count 'em, five mink out of our chicken coop. They were just visiting, eating eggs, and didn't touch a feather on a single chicken. Anyway the first one we caught they wanted to see me kill him.
I have to say that I have been raising and slaughtering all of the animals I eat for over twenty years, so the "animals have to die for us to live" thing, is not new to them. That being said I hadn't done an execution in front of them before, but it is as Hal said, I just did what I would have done even if they weren't watching.
They were basically really interested in where the bullet had gone in, and why was he twitching, and whether he was really dead. They didn't show any significant emotion.
Over the years I have found that kids tend to take killing much better than grown-ups who have never been exposed.
I think the main thing is that these kids should understand that it is an important task to kill an animal humanely. They should also have a sense of the value of the animal's life, and if they are sensitive to that, that is OK in my mind, even good actually.
I don't think you are crazy to be concerned. But if you are uncomfortable then it probably won't be a good experience for any of you.
Thanks for the good discussion. I hope to join in on a few more.
Take care, Carl