The times are changing. So many states that once poo-pooed the carrying of personal defense firearms while hunting (especially bowhunting)...

    The times are changing. So many states that once poo-pooed the carrying of personal defense firearms while hunting (especially bowhunting) now have wording in fish and wildlife regs explicitly allowing you to carry. Many of today’s hunters take full advantage of that—me included.

    When I head to the woods, I typically carry openly. I like a big gun in a comfy holster. Here in the Ozarks, that’s usually a Walther PPQM2 .40 in a Crossbreed Super Slide holster. With that holster, the leather backs the grip of the gun and keeps it from digging into my sideparts—aka, muffin top—while sitting in a treestand.

    I like the Walther because it fits in my hand perfectly, I can shoot it fast, and get it back on target quickly. It has good sights—important for an outdoors gun—but it’s also well balanced. That’s important for any defensive gun because it makes point shooting, something you should be practicing, much easier.

    Defensive Handgun

    Photo by John Hafner

    This fall, I’ll be spending some time hunting in bear country out west, so I ordered a bigger gun; a Smith & Wesson model 329PD. It’s an N-frame .44 magnum, but with a Scandium alloy frame and titanium alloy cylinder, it weighs just 25 ounces—a little more than half of the 629, the stainless steel version of the same gun. The 329PD has a 4-inch barrel and adjustable, fiber-optic sights.

    The key to carrying defensively, regardless of the gun you’re using and regardless of whether you’re in the woods or at the mall, is to have the gun at the ready in a good holster. Not in a backpack. Never place it on your back in a holster, either. Leave the fast-draw from 180 degrees to the cops in the movies. And catch up on a few bear attack stories from back issues of F&S. When an animal attacks, you often end up on your back. That’s another good argument for keeping the gun on your side.

    Whatever and however you carry, check the specific regulations on carrying while hunting, especially if you’re traveling out of state. And double-check the regulations before carrying on any federal property, since federal rules on such things rarely match state rules.

    Of course, I’d be remiss to end this without asking: Do you pack a defensive handgun while hunting? What do you carry and how?

    Editor’s Note: Barbara Baird is a certified NRA Pistol Instructor and competitive shooter, in addition to being a serious hunter. She stays pretty busy as a gun writer, including for —the sister shooting site to F&S.

    Can you carry a pistol while bow hunting in Texas?
    Can I carry a handgun while bow hunting? No, Concealed weapons, in accordance with Concealed Handgun laws of Texas, are used for personal protection, not hunting. If you are archery hunting – you are still hunting. more
    What do pointers hunt?
    game birds They do well hunting anything from small game to game birds, track well, point well, retrieve naturally, and love both water and dry land. This pointer dog breed grows a longer, wiry coat that makes them prefer hunting in colder temperatures. more
    Can you hunt with an AR pistol in PA?
    Currently, Pennsylvania law prohibits the use of semiautomatic rifles to “hunt any game or wildlife.” See 34 Pa. C.S. § 2308. more
    Do Elkhounds hunt?
    The Elkhound has served as a hunter, guardian, herder, and defender. It is known for its courage in tracking and hunting moose and other large game, such as bears or wolves. The Norwegian Elkhound was first presented at a dog exhibition in Norway in 1877. more
    Can you deer hunt with an AR-15 pistol?
    While the AR-15 is preferable for smaller game, Will Chambers makes the same gun work for animals of all sizes. To hunt deer, Chambers outfits his AR-15 with a larger caliber receiver — the long end of a gun that determines the size of the bullet the gun fires. He changes the bullet diameter from the standard . more
    Can Malamutes hunt?
    Alaskan Malamutes have a great natural instinct to hunt. They are pack dogs that were bred to run, hunt and work together in a pack, so their pack mentality is strong too. They often pull on their lead until properly trained due to their hunting instinct. more
    Is Ramsay Hunt curable?
    Ramsay Hunt syndrome is usually effectively treated, but some people may have permanent facial muscle weakness and hearing loss. The risk of complications drops significantly with prompt and proper treatment. The longer the person has to wait for treatment, the smaller the chances of making a complete recovery. more
    Can you hunt with an AR pistol?
    Newman said the short-barreled AR-style pistols come in a range of calibers that are legal for deer hunting. He said AR-style pistols are accurate up to 150 yards, and some of the calibers, like the . 300 Blackout round, are comparable to the old standby deer cartridge, the . 30-30. more
    Do terriers hunt?
    Terriers are very high-energy, determined hunting dogs. They will stop at nothing to get to their prey. They are bred to locate their target and then capture and kill it. more
    Can I hunt with an AR-15 pistol?
    The AR Pistol Afield Sure, they are a ton of fun at the range, teaching children how to shoot, and for use in defending the homestead, but consider them for hunting applications as well. A light, compact AR pistol in the right caliber is easy to carry for long distances and over challenging terrain. more
    What do hounds hunt?
    Hounds are used to pursue running game (rabbits, deer) and gun dogs are used to locate camouflaged hiding game (grouse, pheasant) or retrieve flying game (ducks). Hunting hounds bring the hunter to the prey. They have keen noses that detect the presence of game and track the scent. more


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