State lawmakers have voted to lower the legal age to hunt in Michigan.

Legislation approved by the Michigan Senate today would drop the age requirement for hunting deer, elk and bear with firearms from 14 to 12.

It would lower the legal age for hunting small game such as birds and squirrels from 12 to ten.

The bill passed despite opposition from some Democrats with safety concerns.

It now heads back to the Michigan House.

Supporters 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.

Opponents say the legislation could compromise the safety of younger hunters.