The Firearm Blog


Concealed carrying a handgun while hunting is viewed differently around the country depending on what part of the country you’re in. Carrying a handgun out west is pretty common due to the various wildlife but in the midwest, it is less common. I’ve been asked several times on social media about carrying a handgun while hunting so let’s dive into it.

Carrying for Self Defense

Carrying a concealed firearm while hunting can be looked at as overkill by some people. Hunting is probably the only time you will already have a weapon on your person to defend yourself. While that’s true, the weapons are typically not ideal for self-defense whether it’s from a charging bear or crazy man in your tree stand. In 2004 in Wisconsin, a man decided to trespass onto private land and sit in a tree stand. He had a Chinese made SKS and when he was confronted by the landowners he opened fire. The members of the hunting camp raced to the scene and the crazed hunter ended up killing six hunters and wounding three more.

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There have been other examples of hunters trespassing and opening fire on people or authorities. Public lands are always a place where hunters run into each other often so it’s never a bad idea to have a secondary firearm to protect yourself with. I will typically have some sort of a full size handgun with me during bow season since compound bows as well as crossbows are slow to fire if you’re in a dangerous situation.

Protecting Yourself From Dangerous Game

Out of all the possibilities, protecting yourself from dangerous game while in the field is probably one of the most probable situations. Whether it’s hunting out west, hiking in Alaska or bow hunting in northern Michigan, there are various animals who have been known to prey on hunters. There are a number of threats that have been known to stalk hunters during season.

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One example occurred to a man who was stalked by a 250 lb mountain lion at his tree stand in Washington state. The cat jumped from to tree and ended up lunging at the hunter. He managed to get a shot off while the mountain lion was jumping at him. The hunters shot struck the cat in the chest killing it on impact. He was extremely lucky but there have been countless times where hunters were mauled by animals in the wild. Now don’t get me wrong. I know carrying a concealed firearm isn’t always a sure bet to save your life. But having a handgun does give the hunter better odds when in a life or death situation.

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Great Guns To Carrying While Hunting

Finding the right carry gun for you while hunting can depend on where you live. If you don’t have many predators around you may be fine with a regular carry gun you typically conceal. When I go out into the woods, I will typically carry a SIG Sauer P226 or Glock 19 Gen4. I will typically carry these when I go out to deer hunt. It may be overkill but it’s never a bad idea to have a back up since hunting grounds are typically further away from police services.

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When hunting out west there are a couple different options to go with when looking for a carry gun. If you plan on hiking your way into an area it may be a good idea to look for a lightweight handgun. Something like a Smith & Wesson 586 L Comp or the Glock 20 or 40 chambered in 10mm. These are both great options that are relatively lightweight but pack a punch if you’re forced to defend yourself. There’s always larger choices like the Dan Wesson Kodiak or Smith & Wesson 500 and large framed revolvers for stopping power. These will have the most stopping power in a handgun but will have added weight compared to other options.

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Overall Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons to carry a firearm while going out in the woods during hunting season. Whether it’s protecting yourself from unlawful hunters or predators that pose a risk, it’s important to think of personal safety. There are a ton of great options on the market today. The most important thing is having something that fits your life and makes sense to carry based where you live. Let me know what you guys carry in the comments below when you go hunting. If you have questions feel free to send me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>