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Predators: When a Huntress becomes the Hunted- Part 1.

Why women deserve the right to concealed carry protection while hunting.

The right to Concealed Carry is a topic that I am personally support. I feel that this right should not stop at the sidewalk but be extended into the areas we hunt. Women who hunt alone need to feel safe and to have a way to defend themselves if their safety is threatened, whether it be by an animal or a human.

Some states have recognized this issue and addressed it for all hunters not just women, while other states treat the issue as one they would rather not have to deal with. It will take hunters who are concerned enough for their safety and the safety of their family to bring this issue to their state wildlife agency, which have the power to make these decisions.

It is likely that there are women out there who have hunted long enough to have some examples of instances when they felt unsafe about a circumstance that developed for them while hunting. One of the most chilling occurrences that jeopardized my safety happened this last season in 2009 and it was definitely an unexpected circumstance. I plan to write four additional articles detailing these incidences.

In various parts of the US predatory animals are a real threat to all hunters, not just women. Most of us heard about the recent death on a young Canadian woman who was attacked and killed by 2 coyotes. There are also reports of mountain lion and bear attacks in the western mountain states and northern regions. Additionally Farrell dogs that run in packs can also be a danger to people who enjoy the outdoors. There have also been reports of women who have become pray to 2 legged opportunistic predators. And from 1989 thru 1990's a killer Thomas Dillon stalked hunters and fisherman in the state of Ohio and stated that he had no preference weather his target was male or female. And one of the victims who died in the incident in Wisconsin in 2004 was a woman. These are only the cases that received publicity, as there are some that did not.

While we each know our own "back woods" and feel safe in them, it is unwise  not gain a false sense of comfort because it has not happened to you. In this article I hope to open an issue that needs to be examined by all states that care about the safety of hunters. These are the hunters who have taken hunter safety classes and have the desire to be law abiding citizens and who have the right of self protection.

Many states that have concealed carry laws may not allow you to carry if you have a Concealed Carry License (CCL) while hunting, as a form of protection. These decisions are often determined by the states Wildlife Department. While rifle hunters have some form of protection this is not as true for bowhunters or fisherman. Your options for protection are minimal in states that do not allow personal protection while hunting. So your forms of protection come down to hoping you have a cell phone that works in your coverage area, a 2-way radio if you are hunting with a partner, bear mace and standard mace or your skinning knife that you use to field dress your animal or clean your fish.

Even firearms regulations can be difficult to understand. Be sure to verify regulations for going to and from hunting locations and while in the vehicle to transporting to a hunting site. Verify with state wildlife & parks also park rangers in public hunting. To find out if your state allows a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) see this site

The following are some examples of states that allow hunters protection while hunting as of the fall of 2009.

Massachusetts - A non-resident United States citizen with a license to carry a handgun issued by his home state may carry a handgun in Massachusetts for the purpose of taking part in a competition or exhibition of an organized group of firearms collectors, or for hunting provided he has a valid hunting license issued by Massachusetts or the state of his destination.

Maine - If you use a long gun, bow or are a trapper you can have a concealed carry weapon for the purpose of protection against animal attacks.

New Hampshire - Allows concealed carry with the requirement that “ must be a suitable person to be licensed and has good reason to fear an injury to his person or property or has any other “proper purpose.” Hunting, target shooting or self-defense shall be considered proper purposes.

Vermont - engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, trapping, or other lawful outdoor activity that necessarily involves the carrying of a weapon for personal protection.

Minnesota - permits CCW permit holders to carry legal concealed personal-defense handguns while traveling to the hunting area and from the hunting area. The CCW handgun must be cased and unloaded in the hunting area.

Pennsylvania – offers a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit?
An individual who is age 18 or older and is licensed to hunt, trap or fish, or who has been issued a permit relating to hunting dogs, may apply for a Sportsman's Firearm Permit by submitting a completed application along with the required fee to the county treasurer's office. The permit shall be issued immediately and be valid throughout this Commonwealth for a period of five years from the date of issue for any "legal firearm", when carried in conjunction with a valid hunting, fur taking or fishing license, or permit relating to hunting dogs. The issuances of a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit allows the individual to carry a firearm if such persons are actually hunting, taking furbearers, fishing or training dogs, or are going to the places where they desire to hunt, take furbearers, fish, or train dogs during the regular training season, or returning from such places. A Sportsman's Firearm Permit is NOT a License to Carry a firearm concealed.

Indiana - The new hunting laws expressly permit this. The concealed carrier must have a CCW to do so. The law states that this is for "personal protection".

Ohio - A person possessing a valid Ohio issued Concealed Carry license may carry their concealed weapon while hunting but it may not be used to shoot, shoot at, or kill any wild animal.

Delaware - Handguns can be carried for hunting purposes only, but must be carried openly on a sling or in a holster and not concealed;

Virginia - Virginia hunters with CCW permits are allowed to carry concealed personal-defense handguns while hunting

Washington - A permit is not even required to carry a personal-defense handgun into the field. However, the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) frowns upon the use of handguns to hunt big game. The DFW is concerned that most handguns are not capable of ensuring a quick, humane kill of a large game animal. Also, like a number of states, Washington is also very protective of so-called "primitive" hunting with muzzleloaders and bows. Hunters may not possess any handguns while using primitive weapons.

Alaska - A permit to carry a concealed handgun is not necessary in Alaska but they are available. You may also take your weapon with you for protection while hunting.

West Virginia - WV Hunting Laws does NOT allow for the carry of ANY firearm (except CCL) into a wooded area except during open season.

Georgia - Lawful hunting or fishing with the permission of the land owner if, whenever the handgun is loaded, it is carried only in a fully exposed manner.

If I had more time I would have investigated other states further, but this is enough evidence to see that there are some states that have at least acknowledged that in the 20th Century hunters need to be able to protect themselves while hunting. Additionally they recognize that the right to bear arms as our freedoms as an American citizen.

Recently the regulations have gone back and forth on whether they allow firearms within national parks and forests. Below were the current regulations as of 2009.

"List of parks, forests, etc. and firearms restrictions:

  • National Parks, Federal, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior (firearms prohibited per 36 CFR 2.4 (a))
  • National Forests, Federal, US Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture (firearms OK, but CA state law applies)
  • BLM Land, Federal, Bureau of Land Management, US Department of the Interior (firearms OK, but CA state law applies)
  • State Parks, State, California Department of Parks and Recreation (firearms prohibited per CCR Title 14, Div 3, Chap 1, s 4313 (a))
  • Regional Parks, some are county owned (example), some are city owned (firearms usually prohibited per local ordinance)

  • Wilderness Areas, Federal, within or part of a National Forest, (firearms OK in some, prohibited in others, check with local ranger station)
  • Wilderness Areas, Federal, within or part of a National Park (firearms prohibited)
  • National Monuments, Federal, various agencies but usually the NPS (firearms prohibited)
  • National Wildlife Refuges, Federal, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior (firearms restrictions vary)
  • DFG Wildlife Areas and Reserves, State, California Department of Fish & Game (firearms restrictions vary)
  • US Army Corp of Engineers Recreation Areas (San Francisco District)
  • PG&E owned Recreation Areas"

As for the personal stories that I wish to share regarding situations that I have encountered while bow hunting I will be writing the following follow up articles.
  • Part 2: Poacher's Approach
  • Part 3: Urban Encounter
  • Part 4: Coyotes Quarry
  • Part 5: The Uninvited Guest

I hope this article will open up some discussion topics to ponder your personal safety plan.

Synthia Wilson
Kansas resident and huntress


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