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February 13, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Should Bowhunters Carry Guns?

From the Billings Gazette:

[Wyoming] Bowhunters would be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense during archery-only hunting seasons if legislation unanimously endorsed by a House committee Friday becomes law. The bill now moves to the full House; it already has been approved by the Senate.

Bowhunters currently are prohibited from carrying firearms during special hunting sessions.

Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, is sponsoring the legislation. He said allowing bowhunters to carry firearms is consistent with an individual's constitutional right to bear arms.

"I sorta think we should write laws that conform to the Constitution," Case said.

What do you think? Is this a good idea or does it open the door to increased poaching?



Not sure what Wyoming's CCL laws are, but in some states I believe that your "carry" weapon is allowed, even if you are bowhunting.


Bowhunters shouldn't be armed. I'm all for gun rights, but there are situations where it is perfectly reasonable to ask the legally gun-toting public to disarm. And this is one of them.
Let bowhunters carry guns and you can bet some will use them to poach deer.


Bowhunters shouldn't be armed. I'm all for gun rights, but there are situations where it is perfectly reasonable to ask the legally gun-toting public to disarm. And this is one of them.
Let bowhunters carry guns and you can bet some will use them to poach deer.


I have a concealed carry permit and would welcome the change. With poachers, trespassers, marijuana farmers, wolves, bears and coyotes roaming the woods I would like the extra security of having my handgun with me.

Trent M.

Joe, if a person is going to poach a deer, he is going to poach a deer. Do you really think people who are going to poach, are waiting for something LEGAL to get passed to make it easier. Get real, this is way past due.


You might as well not let hikers carry shotguns, rifles or handguns outside of firearms seasons. Poachers don't just poach during bow season. I'm baffled that those of us with valid carry permits are allowed to carry guns into stores in city limits but not into the woods during bow season.


Joe. You are wrong. And jstreet you are right. A poacher is going to poach when ever a poacher wants to poach. Sit high and let them fly!!

Chris H

I cringe at the statement "there are situations where it is perfectly reasonable to ask the legally gun-toting public to disarm". No there are not. If it is legal to carry a gun then it is legal to carry a gun. We do not need to go in the wrong direction here. I carry a gun of some fashion everytime I go into the woods. I've seen wild dogs, coyotes, and rattle snakes on my property and I refuse to take a chance. I'd always rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Also, it is very difficult to get any help if you are lost or injured by firing three arrows.

Tal P

I grew up hunting on private land in Georgia, and usually my father carried a snubnose .38 special or a .22. The gun worked well to dispatch any poisonous snakes (legal to do in Georgia) or armadillo we might encounter. I now attend college in Arkansas and hunt public land. I have encountered situations where, without a firearm, I may not have made it back. To say that some situations require people to give up their right to bear arks is ridiculous, and unconstitutional. Sure, some people will give into the temptation to poach, but a truly ethical hunter will not. You can see a hundred dollars and not steal it- you can see a deer and not poach it with a firearm.

Matt Mallery

Chris H.

You talk of ethics, but why are you shooting Armadillos and snakes? There is no reason to shoot a venemous snake. They will go away if you leave them alone. And as for armadillos, that should be illegal. They are harmless.

Matt M.

It's legal here in Arizona. the law changed after a bowhunter was murdered by drug smugglers from Mexico. Most Alaskans would not dream of entering the bush without a firearm, and there is no reason those of us in "borderland" should go into the desert without defense.

Trent M.

Hey Matt Mallery...the names are BELOW the post...direct your gripes with the right person...

Matt you obviously haven't had a ticked off cotton mouth or rattler where it can bite you. If someone is going to poach they are going to poach. Rat shot is not going to kill a deer but can kill snakes......


I have a permit to carry in Iowa. While bowhunting for deer I have seen meth makers out in the woods. Am I scared of them, darn right. That alone is reason to carry. I am not going to shoot a deer with a pistol but it does offer personal protection. I am glad Wyoming is looking into and other states should take the hint.


In response to jim, wherever you are hunting it must be nuts. Personally I have never met a marijuanna farmer while on stand... and even if I ever did find a marijuanna farmer I don't believe my first response would be to pull a pistol on him. With so many people now days haveing the right to carry a gun, it seems like their first and only response to a situation would be to pull their gun on them. This idea may seem like "extra security" but it's making yourself look foolish and giving hunting a bad name. When animal rights activists look at hunters they see redneck, quick drawing murderers. I am an avid hunter but I am also trying to prevent this way of thinking towards the common hunter. This topic is very contreversial but people like "Jim" are not helping. I also believe bowhunting should be left alone, no handguns necassary, where as it could only taint the incredible sport it it.

*incredible sport it is.*


Carrying a handgun while bowhunting doesn't mean you are going to pull it at every opportunity. Realistically, it will probably never be used. I just feel that licensed concealed carry license holders should be able to carry their handguns into the woods if the choose to. I'm not a redneck and I certainly wouldn't want to "taint" the sport. Pulling a gun would be my last resort, but I'd like to have the option if I felt it was necessary.
You and I just don't agree on the issue and I respect your opinion.


In Idaho it is legal and has not caused increased poaching. I do it every year during archery season for deer and elk. Bears (I have a tag), mountain lions (I have a tag), and wolves (hope to soon have a tag) are often open during the same time frame for any weapon. And as a self-preservation/defense tool, the pistol is hard to beat. Three arrows shot in the air in a repeated pattern isn't going to summon much help!

Franklin Riffle

I am from West Virginia and yes it is legal here to carry a side arm and the reason for this is a bear attack that occured twenty some years ago. A member of our state legislature was attacked by a bear, to this day he has limited use of one of his arms due to the attack. After he healed and made it back to the Capitol he introduced a law to change this fact and now we are allowed to carry. I also have the honor of being the nephew of this man as well, Wayne Hendricks. Also the arguments are just, not everyone is using our hunting lands be they public or private for legal purposes from the pot growers to the meth cookers.
I personally carry a side arm for the reason above not to mention trespassing poachers which I almost came into contact with this year on private property has made me even more devoted to carrying a firearm during bow season.

Mike Diehl

@Tal and ChrisH

Out of curiousity, does a .22LR or .22Mag round with that plastic cap & granular shot really work on snakes? You know -- terminate or immobilize them? Generally I just go around diamondbacks but there have been a couple instances when room enough to safely go-around has been limited, and I've wished I had some other choice.

Thanks in advance.

Matt M

There are tons of pot farmers here in Arizona. There place of choice is the National Forest. So for those who think there is no need to carry for defense against criminals, you are wrong. I can understand concern over bears, but wolves and snakes? get real. I see snakes all the time. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. This mentality toward snakes is stupid. 90% of snake bites are to people who are harassing/trying to kill them. As for wolves. Come on. When are we going to leave this wolf hatred our forebearers brought from Europe behind?


There's a million "what if's" on this but the bottom line is: it's bow season right? Bow, not handgun. I handgun, blackpowder, rifle, and bow hunt. Don't make excuses, it's bow season. Get it. Don't go out in bow season if you think it means you need to pack heat.


Hunting is Hunting if we let the anti-hunters and anti gun people start to regulate what we carry durring any season riffle, bow, black powde, or pistol we open our selves to loosing the right to hunt I personally carry while hunting and should be a personall choice not regulated by the government.


I also believe in carrying a sidearm into the woods during bow season, for reasons of personal safety and rescue. People who are going into the woods to find a "drug cooker" or to just start shooting their guns "out of boredom" are going to do this anyway and are not considered hunters. But here in Ohio, there are times(not always) where a firearm could make a dangerous hunt(or hike) safe. Remember, the question was Should bowhunters carry guns? Not "what if". I believe this question was directed at hunters who are intelligent and take this sport seriously,to which I'm a proud member. Just my opinion, Dan


I love to bow hunt. I hunt in an area that also has a good herd of wild boar. I usually carry 4 arrows in my quiver and until recently never carried a side arm when I was bow hunting. However, a good friend of mine who hunts on a farm close to our land harvested a nice 10 point early in bow season late one afternoon. Like most of us who bow hunt we will stay in the stand for an hour or so to make sure the animal has expired before tracking. My budd y did this and as he began to climb out of his stand was greeted by three wild boar who apparently were not happy he was there. Wild Boar are legal to hunt year round where we hunt. My friend took all three with his sidearm. If he hadn't had his sidearm with him and only 3 arrows left in his quiver, what are the chances he would have made it out safely. I love the thirll of bowhunting; however, in the face of danger you gotta make a choice. You never know when you will be faced by boar, snakes, coyotes, poachers, and etc.. I choose to get back home in one piece to my family. Yeah, bowhunters should carry a side arm.

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