Can You Carry A Handgun While Bow Hunting

As an avid outdoorsman, I have often found myself pondering the question: Can I carry a handgun while bow hunting? This is a topic that sparks much debate among hunters, so I decided to delve deeper into the subject to provide some clarity.

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand the laws and regulations regarding firearms and hunting in your specific location. Different states and countries have varying rules, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations.

In my home state of Montana, for example, it is legal to carry a handgun while bow hunting if you possess a valid concealed carry permit. However, it is important to note that the handgun cannot be used to hunt game animals unless it is during a firearm season and you possess the proper licensing and tags.

Carrying a handgun while bow hunting can serve multiple purposes. For some hunters, it provides a sense of security and peace of mind, especially when venturing into remote and unfamiliar territories. A handgun can be a valuable tool for self-defense against potential threats, both human and animal.

Furthermore, a handgun can come in handy during unexpected encounters with dangerous predators, such as bears. While bow hunting, the noise of drawing a bow can startle and provoke a bear. In such situations, having a loaded handgun readily accessible can be a life-saving asset.

However, it is crucial to handle firearms responsibly and ensure the safety of yourself and others. If you choose to carry a handgun while bow hunting, always keep it properly holstered and secured. Additionally, practice proper firearms safety protocols, such as keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

It is also important to consider the ethical aspect of carrying a handgun while bow hunting. Bow hunting is often seen as a skillful and challenging pursuit that requires close-range encounters with game animals. Introducing a firearm into the mix can be seen as an unfair advantage and may detract from the integrity of the hunt.

Ultimately, the decision to carry a handgun while bow hunting is a personal one. It is essential to weigh the legal considerations, safety concerns, and ethical implications before making your choice. Consulting with local hunting organizations, experienced hunters, and wildlife authorities can provide valuable insight and guidance on this matter.


Carrying a handgun while bow hunting is a complex and controversial topic. While there are valid reasons for wanting to have a handgun as a safety precaution, it is crucial to ensure compliance with local laws, prioritize firearms safety, and consider the ethical implications. Each hunter must carefully evaluate their own comfort level and make an informed decision that aligns with their values and the regulations of their hunting jurisdiction.