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Old June 4, 2007, 08:31 PM   #1
The Deer Hunter
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Long guns in the woods.

I was wondering about the legality of carrying a longgun(rifle or shotgun) in the woods as a means of self defence. I know that bears are a legitimate threat, and have carried a shotgun in the woods, but do not know if this is legal or not.

I plan on doing some camping/hiking this summer and wonder if I should find some bear mace or something or just bring the 870.

Oh, and btw, we would be packing in via canoe.
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Old June 4, 2007, 08:37 PM   #2
PTR 91
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Check your state laws. I have never hurd of carring a rifle in the woods, being illegal. You should be all set to carry a rifle in the woods legaly so have fun.
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Old June 4, 2007, 08:40 PM   #3
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Well, I live in MA, so you never know. I think I will check the masswildlife site tomorrow as long as it isn't in PDF format.
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Old June 5, 2007, 09:56 AM   #4
BlueTrain
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I would think that hunting laws would begin in apply in this case. It might amount to hunting out of season/poaching/killing the king's deer.
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Old June 5, 2007, 12:37 PM   #5
brickeyee
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Depends on state law and who owns the land.
In National Forests having a long gun outside of hunting season is generally not allowed.
No firearms are allowed in National Parks unless unloaded and cased.
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Old June 5, 2007, 01:14 PM   #6
Polishrifleman
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It's always coyote season. in Washington.

Hopefully you have coyote's. Definately understand the state law. I say understand it because you want to know the consequences of being able to feel comfortable protecting you and your family.

Looks like crow hunting opens up on July 2nd for you guys in Mass.
Quote:
3.02(8) Hunting of Crows
There shall be an annual open season for the hunting of crows in all counties of Massachusetts subject to the following:

(a) Open Season. The open season shall be as follows: every Monday, Friday, and Saturday of each week except during the period of April 11 through June 30, and except during the season when deer may be legally taken by means of a shotgun.

(b) Hunting Hours. The hunting hours during each calendar day of the open season shall be from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except as provided in 321 CMR 3.01(1)(n).

(c) Permissible Hunting Methods. Crows may be hunted by means of firearms, bow and arrow, and falconry, but not with the aid of or from an aircraft.

Regulatory Authority: M.G.L. c. 131, § 5.

Last Revised: 12-31-04
Quote:
The following species may be taken year’ round (except during shotgun deer season) by licensed hunters with no daily or seasonal bag limit: English sparrow, flying squirrel, red squirrel, porcupine, skunk, starling, weasel, woodchuck.
Closed season throughout the year on all birds and mammals not mentioned herein or in Massachusetts Migratory Bird Regulations.
Quote:
Shotgun Ammunition – Except during the prescribed open season when deer may be hunted lawfully with a shotgun, a person shall not have in his possession a shotgun shell loaded with a rifled slug, single ball, buckshot of any size, BB shot or air rifle shot in any place where birds or mammals may be found except on a skeet, trap or target range between sunrise and sunset, or except as specified in Migratory Bird Hunting Abstracts.
If that doesn't confuse you you are a better person than I, you might want to find the Mass definition of "Firearm" as mentioned in the Crow hunting section.

Good luck, and don't forget to buy your hunting license and have it with you.
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Old June 5, 2007, 02:21 PM   #7
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If you are claiming to be carrying to hunt, be sure to have a license with any stamps required...
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Old June 5, 2007, 05:35 PM   #8
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You need to check your state laws. And even within a state, it may depend on where you're walking. In the Sam Houston National Forest, you can carry concealed weapons during non-hunting season, but I suspect you'd have a very uncomfortable interview were you toting around a .30-06. But if you carry even a CCW in an archery-only area, you are in violation of the law.

Check the state statutes and the rules for where you are going to be. If I were you, I'd opt for a .44 magnum revolver if you're worried about bears or bad guys, not a rifle.

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Old June 5, 2007, 07:01 PM   #9
azredhawk44
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Any time I am out in the woods, I make sure that I have my general hunt license and my mountain lion tag.

Lion hunting season is year round, so I am legit if I choose to hike with a .30-30 (or any other rifle or handgun).
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Old June 5, 2007, 07:15 PM   #10
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Isn't it messed up that you can't carry in national forests even for SELF DEFENSE?
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Old June 5, 2007, 07:25 PM   #11
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You aren't paying attention. You cannot carry guns in the archery only area. In non archery areas you can carry a concealed weapon. Trust me, when I'm out in the woods, I'm not unarmed. But I stay out of the archery areas.

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Old June 5, 2007, 07:40 PM   #12
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I am under 21, so I cannot have a CCW/pistol legally.
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Old June 5, 2007, 08:15 PM   #13
PTR 91
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Well if my understanding is right you should be able to carry a rifle in the woods even if your under 21. But again check state laws. The state I am in lets people under 21 carry rifles in the woods.
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Old June 5, 2007, 09:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
You aren't paying attention. You cannot carry guns in the archery only area. In non archery areas you can carry a concealed weapon. Trust me, when I'm out in the woods, I'm not unarmed. But I stay out of the archery areas.

[Springmom
So you can carry for SD in national forests as long as it's not an archery area? Some of what I've read suggests otherwise.
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Old June 5, 2007, 09:30 PM   #15
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I've got 42 acres in Maine. No question about carrying on my property. My "neighbors" & I agree to walk each other's property to check things out since we're all vacation spots and only there periodically. If someone saw me in the woods without a gun, they'd wonder what was wrong with me. Of course, I don't have to deal with state/national forests.
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Old June 5, 2007, 09:39 PM   #16
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Those Mass hunting guidelines are hilarious.

Just tell 'em you are hunting weasels.

The shotgun ammunition rule is going to make things interesting, though. That's a hell of a pain in the keister.
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Old June 5, 2007, 09:52 PM   #17
Lavid2002
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Mace It!

buy a BID #$%# pistol and carry that! Long guns(at least hicking and in terms of self defence) in the woods are HEAVY! : ( I got tired when I was lost for 5 hours and seriously considered leaving the rifle and treking on without it in the wildernes because it was so heavy. Buy a big deagle or something high in caliber so you can hgolster it, be ready, AND get from a to be not exhausted....and not scaring the #$%@ out of the people you pass by....I was looked at with saucer eyes when I showed up at some teenagers cabin when they were partying for the weekend in the middle of no where when I was lost "WHY DOY OU HAVE A RIFLE?!?!" they asked.
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Old June 6, 2007, 10:21 AM   #18
springmom
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Axion:

You can carry for self defense in THAT national forest, yes. I can't speak for them all, but I hunt SHNF every year and also love to spend time up there walking, listening to the birds, etc. The archery only area is the only place I can't carry concealed.

Deer Hunter:

Sorry, missed that in the OP. Have you checked your state regs? What do they say?

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Old June 6, 2007, 11:24 AM   #19
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Springmom,
I have a CHLer friend who hunts frequently with his brother up in Sam Houston National Forrest with a rifles. He was told by the park that you can NOT carry a handgun for defense. (He said he carried his .40 XD anyway because it was absurd not to considering that you might have a charging pig rushing out of bush)
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Old June 6, 2007, 11:47 AM   #20
springmom
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Somebody told him wrong. Here's "da rules"

From the Public Hunting Lands Map Booklet, page 13, under the section "Prohibited Acts"...

"NOTICE: The prohibited acts and other public hunting regulations do not in any way restrict a person having a concealed handgun license from possessing a concealed handgun, loaded or unloaded, on public hunting lands in strict accordance with the concealed handgun laws."

HTH.

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Old June 6, 2007, 12:37 PM   #21
The Deer Hunter
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Quote:
buy a BID #$%# pistol and carry that! Long guns(at least hicking and in terms of self defence) in the woods are HEAVY! : ( I got tired when I was lost for 5 hours and seriously considered leaving the rifle and treking on without it in the wildernes because it was so heavy. Buy a big deagle or something high in caliber so you can hgolster it, be ready, AND get from a to be not exhausted....and not scaring the #$%@ out of the people you pass by....
I cant legally have a pistol, because I'm not 21, as I stated before. I don't care if I scare people passing by, if they get eaten/mauled thats their own fault.
Quote:
I was looked at with saucer eyes when I showed up at some teenagers cabin when they were partying for the weekend in the middle of no where when I was lost "WHY DOY OU HAVE A RIFLE?!?!" they asked.
You should have said something like: "Didn't you know, some cougars escaped from the zoo
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Old June 6, 2007, 12:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
I know that bears are a legitimate threat
In MA, I'm sure you are talking about black bears. I don't worry about black bears too much. They are pretty much scared to death of anything on two feet. Last year, I had a fair sized one hanging around, and I got a couple of BIG rocks and beaned him with one. I think he didn't slow down until he got to Idaho.
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Old June 6, 2007, 12:57 PM   #23
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In wa state we carry rifles in the woods and I have never had any problems. Sometimes I preffer to carry a .44 mag revolver though.
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Old June 6, 2007, 12:57 PM   #24
springmom
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When I was re-reading the public hunting lands book to answer Doug, I ran across a notation that black bears are re-appearing in both east and west Texas, and can be mistaken for feral hogs. Black bears are PROTECTED in the state of Texas, and you can get yourself into one honkin' big bit of trouble by shooting one.

Of course if I were rushed by a sow with a cub, and it's me or her, well, she'd better be carrying a .44, because I will be. But the point of the caution was to be sure of your target, and not to shoot a bear mistakenly.

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Old June 6, 2007, 06:34 PM   #25
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The rules for toting a firearm in national forests and public lands (whatever they may be called) vary by state. There is no blanket one size fit all rule although I wish there was.

If it's legal, carry your trusty 22 rifle and enjoy yourself. Black bears rarely are a problem unless you mess up. I have been know to be hunting whatever is legal as I enjoying carrying a gun in the woods.
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