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Old October 5, 2017, 05:27 PM   #1
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Carrying while hunting...Any point?

While small game hunting the other day I had the thought, "Why am I carrying my pistol with me when I have a 12ga. shotgun already in my hands?"

Compared to the shotgun, the pistol is far more inconvenient to get to than the long gun and has less range. I guess the main deciding factor would be if the average game 5-7.5 shot load is adequate for self defense at or within the choke pattern's ideal distance.

What are your thoughts? Are game loads an adequate defense round? Do you carry a sidearm while hunting?
“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".”

― --Thomas Jefferson
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Old October 5, 2017, 05:43 PM   #2
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I do carry while hunting, here in Georgia. My EDC is something I can have with me while doing a little bit of bowhunting (legal with permit in GA), while carrying a muzzleloader and those times when I put my long gun down. I'm not going to carry a shotgun or rifle while pumping gas or eating a meal but I will have my EDC.
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Old October 5, 2017, 05:55 PM   #3
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I guess it depends on your hunting circumstances. I keep a Glock 22 with me on a regular basis, but a lot of my hunting takes place at night. I hunt hogs at night a lot and once I get one down, my night vision is just too clumsy to use at very close range if I have to finish one off. I have a light on the Glock, as well as night sights.
If I'm deer hunting, I can't really see the point of carrying one around.
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Old October 5, 2017, 06:06 PM   #4
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I hunt it the UP of Michigan and there are a lot of wolves and bear. Obviously my rifle is better, but for me it's why not? It's not like I am hurting for room, plus when walking out in the dark my night sighted Glock 20 is quicker than my scoped rifle.
"The only purpose for a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you never should have laid down."

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." -John Wayne
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Old October 5, 2017, 06:23 PM   #5
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Yes, I carry when I am hunting (which isn't very often).

One small story, which isn't real dramatic, but shows the utility of carrying when hunting: I was deer hunting in Nevada. I came upon a half dozen deer including a couple decent bucks. I shot one with a .30-06 and he went down like he was pole axed. I put my rifle down and all my gear. Took my coat off, rolled up my sleeves, got paper towels and my knife out of my pack and walked up to where the deer was. I got about 10 yards away and the deer jumped up and started running. I drew my carry gun from an inside the waist band holster and made a couple hits on it, putting it down for good.
Not some dire self defense story, but the handgun came in handy when my rifle was lying on my pack 25 yards away.

It was also comforting in the tent at night: it is kind of weird to be inside a tent and not be able to see out, then you hear a noise outside and you have to unzip your sleeping bag, then unzip the tent door to see what made the noise. And having a gun in the tent that you are not going to roll over on is even nicer.

I have also shot a few coyotes that I encountered when I was bird hunting with a shotgun using the same 9mm handgun.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old October 5, 2017, 08:54 PM   #6
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I'm sure it would depend on what you're hunting and where at. I carry a revolver on the hip while hunting. Not for what I'm hunting, but for what may be hunting me. I hunt in areas known to have cougar. I'm sure if one really wanted to stalk me and attack me with my back turned, it could. I wouldn't have the time to swing a long rifle/shotgun around to shoot it, but I may be able to use one arm as a shield from the fangs and the other to reach down for the revolver and plug it a few times. God willing that never happens.
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Old October 5, 2017, 09:44 PM   #7
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Random thoughts:

I have read more than one first hand account where an armed bad guy accosted a hunter. What do think was the first thing he made the hunter do? That's right. Lay his long gun (or bow, etc.) on the ground. The CCW saved his bacon when the bad guy wasn't expecting it.

I like to carry another gun anyway just to increase versatility. Like a .22 pistol for small game if I'm carrying a bigger gun. Or if I've got a .22 rifle or birdshot /shotgun in my hands, I like a bigger pistol in case I need more power or range.

If you empty your shotgun, it's probably faster to draw the pistol than to reload. We're limited to only 3 shotgun shells here. You?

There are times/places where a handgun is forbidden, but I just gotta carry something extra, "just in case". My big bowie knife rides along on my hip then.
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Old October 5, 2017, 10:43 PM   #8
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Generally yes, but it depends on the location. Some places where I hunt on public land are pretty remote and there is the possibility of a car jacking or robbery at a trailhead. It doesn't happen often, but it has. My G19 or G29 are small and light enough for easy carry, and would be a better option than a bolt rifle in a parking lot with multiple attackers. Technically hunting firearms are supposed to be unloaded 50 yards before reaching a road or parking lot anyway.

Other places are so rugged that I'm looking to reduce the load I'm carrying by every ounce possible. Sometimes I just take my chances and leave the handgun in the truck.
"If you're still doing things the same way you were doing them 10 years ago, you're doing it wrong"

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Old October 6, 2017, 01:15 AM   #9
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Lot's of scenarios and applications that I didn't consider; thanks guys. I guess the main thing I was thinking of was a conflict with another hunter in the woods (many deer hunters get mad with small game hunters on the state rec areas around here,) But I didn't think of being separated from my long gun or being disarmed/ robbed.

And it's plugged to three for us here too, however I hunt with an O/U
“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".”

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Old October 6, 2017, 01:36 AM   #10
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I've always carried a revolver, usually in .357 mag, but sometimes in .44 mag. just depends on where I'm at. Mostly I carry for mountain lions. We had one kinda following us one evening right after sunset as we were hiking back to camp. Don't know how long he was following us, but when my buddy noticed him he was only about 70 yards away.

He disappeared after awhile, but we kept a sharp look out for him all the way back to camp and I didn't fall asleep for at least a couple hours. I kept the Ruger under the pillow that night.
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Old October 6, 2017, 03:25 AM   #11
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I carry a revolver, with ratshot in it, while hunting. Here near the
swamp there are a lot of snakes. I'm usually hunting with a rifle.
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Old October 6, 2017, 07:01 AM   #12
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When I was younger and hunted closer cover, I often carried a handgun with which I shot a few close range deer. I don't often carry a handgun these days as I prefer to carry that weight in "comfort items"(snacks, thermos, extra coat). I don't feel a need to display my handgun prowess anymore and in fact, probably wouldn't hit a deer beyond contact range anyway.
One on occasion many years ago, the handgun was very useful. Opening morning of deer season I was sitting on an elevated stand overlooking some harvested cropland. Just after daylight I saw a pickup enter the field and drive through 1/4 mile of standing crop to park near where my friend was in another stand. I own the property and the crop so was fairly upset so I went to where the pickup was parked but the driver had left to hunt further into my place. New vehicle, temp plate, no ID and the doors were locked so I popped the hood and pulled the dist cap(this was back in the "old days" BTW). Couple of hours passed and the driver returned to find his pickup wouldn't start so he accosted my friend who was quite obvious in his blaze coveralls. Friend pointed out my position and the trespasser stomped through more standing crops to confront me. By the time he arrived, I had taken my 357 from it's holster and laid it in my lap, leaving my rifle propped against the side of the stand. Mr Trespasser was having a fit and even after I explained a couple of important issues to him continued to rant and threaten. Finally, he began waving his rifle around and telling me what he'd do if this happened again. At that point, I displayed the 357 and told what I was going to do right now if he didn't desist with the threats and LEAVE. He realized immediately that he had made a serious mistake in trespassing, threatening a landowner on his own property, and damaging valuable crops. I instructed him to unload his rifle, return to his vehicle, and never return. I can't say where the confrontation would have gone w/o the handgun but it seemed to be an acceptable outcome giving the 357 due credit.
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Old October 6, 2017, 07:05 AM   #13
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The only time I won't have some kind of open-carry sidearm is when I'm on a bow-only at area on COE lands. They still haven't gotten with the program the rest of federal lands are on with following state rules for carry. Any other time, I'll have a sidearm. If I'm using either a .22 or a shotgun, then I'll be carrying a snubnose .357 with the first cylinder loaded with a CCI snake load. If I'm carrying a centerfire rifle then my sidearm will be a S&W 617 .22LR.

I know it might seem odd carrying a .22LR sidearm but twice I've had coons try and climb the tree I was sitting in.
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Old October 6, 2017, 02:49 PM   #14
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Used to, but no more, except.....

I did for a while when I deer hunted, but I got to the point where it was just one more thing to tote, and it simply seemed to get in the way. Now, if I want to try to take a deer with the handgun, I just take the handgun. Better pull it off soon too, 'cause my eyes won't see the iron sights well at woods ranges much longer.

It is now legal to possess a handgun for SD while bowhunting, and the bow in my hand does not seem like much against a human aggressor. I've gone to slipping the snub .38 in my front pants pocket, and I've also done the same with the tiny Bearcat .22.
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Old October 6, 2017, 09:13 PM   #15
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Yes. More likely than when just out and about in town.
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Old October 7, 2017, 08:49 AM   #16
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I carry while hunting.
Where i'm at the woods are real thick along the paths, field edges.
Had black bear appear unexpectedly 20yards away.
Bull elk at 5 yards.
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Old October 7, 2017, 11:03 AM   #17
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Why I carry when hunting, deer gun 08 sitting in my woodlot with a muzzle loader when a pack of about a dozen dogs come through, the didn't see me but I felt vulnerable.

Summer of 09 I traded for a 4566 and that's been my woods CC since.

When I hunt with my Blackhawk I still CC an LCP and it works cause those dogs never came back

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Old October 7, 2017, 11:55 AM   #18
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If I hunted I would. Years ago, there was an incident here in Wisco where a altercation came about regarding hunting territory, and several hunters were shot and killed by a crazy ticked off idiot. I am guessing this type of dispute is fairly common.
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Old October 7, 2017, 11:59 AM   #19
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It depends. During the gun deer season I hunt with a revolver, so I'm already carrying. During the bow season and when hunting with a shotgun I carry my J-Frame .38 for the same reason I carry it daily otherwise. If it's size and weight are not a deterrent to EDC, why should it be otherwise?
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Old October 7, 2017, 01:22 PM   #20
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i don't carry while hunting. IMO: A handgun is more weight to pack around. Some of the land i hunt is federal property where carrying a handgun is prohibited.
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Old October 7, 2017, 02:20 PM   #21
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I carried in NY just on the off chance that I might get an acceptable shot and be able to take a deer with my Glock 33. (5.3” extended barrel for those who know NY law) Never happened.
I also carried for the much more likely reason that I might need to dispatch a wounded animal and better a $0.25 pistol round than a $2 rifle round. Never happened.

Now I carry in CO on the off chance of meeting an unfriendly bear. Better, in my estimation, to have 10 rounds of .357sig than 1 or 2 from whatever rifle. Also, likely to never happened.

I guess, really, I carry just for the hell of it.
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Old October 7, 2017, 04:25 PM   #22
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I see no reason why I should not carry while hunting.
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher." -- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
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Old October 7, 2017, 04:39 PM   #23
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I carry all the time. Why is it an issue when hunting?
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Old October 7, 2017, 05:43 PM   #24
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I forgot to mention an incident I had, because the thread asked about hunting, and what happened in my case was a fishing outing.

i won't relate the entire story here, but the short version is that my brother and I were out for a day of fishing when a feral dog attempted to attack us, or at least my brother who happened to be closer. I shot the dog twice, killing it. Game & fish collected the carcass and later informed me that the dog had been rabid, which probably accounted for its strange behavior just prior to its lunge towards us. What might have happened if I hadn't been armed that day, is unknowable, but I've never been more glad that I bothered to put on that holster that day.
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Old October 8, 2017, 01:52 PM   #25
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I always carry a handgun while hunting, where ever the law allows.
#1 not every dangerous thing in the woods walks on four legs.
#2 finishing shot(s) on big game
#3 its relatively easy to get separated from your rifle or shotgun. A holstered handgun is more likely to be within reach.

Some of my hunting is done with single shots. A repeating handgun is a comforting backup.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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