Should You Carry A Sidearm If You Are Going Hiking, Fishing Or Camping Far Off The Beaten Path?

There is something about being in the great outdoors that is relaxing and rejuvenating for many people like me. I get away to hunt, hike and fish whenever I can. I will also tell you that when I do these things I like to do them far off the beaten path. Another thing I don’t mind telling you is that when I do these things I make sure I have a sidearm with me wherever I am permitted to carry one too.

This has been the subject of much debate between me and some of my more liberal friends. They actually have some valid opinions as to why I should not take a firearm with me when I go hiking, camping or fishing in the deep woods. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of this argument and then you can better judge whether carrying a firearm with you into the wilderness is right for you.

Arguments For and Against Carrying a Firearm When Fishing, Camping or Hiking In the Back Woods

Here are some of the reasons people choose to carry or not choose to carry a handgun with them as they travel in a remote wilderness area.

Arguments for carrying a sidearm

Not all of the people in the woods are good people

If you are hunting or fishing in a very remote area you may very well run across some unsavory type people. It could be someone hiding from the law or engaged in some type of legal activity. Chances are they will be better armed than you will be if it comes to an aggressive situation but it’s better for you to have a firearm and a small chance of survival than having no chance at all.

Sure the chances of you never having to use a handgun to defend yourself in the wilderness are by far better than the chances you will. But until the chance you will never have to defend yourself with a handgun in the wild becomes 100% all the time, it’s better to have a one with you just in case.

You can protect yourself against four legged critters

Many people say you should bring a gun with you into the wilderness to help protect yourself against such things as attacks from large predators such as bears, wolves or mountain lions.

First of all I am not foolish enough to believe that any weapon that I carry as a sidearm will be powerful enough to stop something like a charging bear. It can however be used to fire a warning shot that may or not discourage the bear from continuing the charge.

Here is an instance caught on video where a quick thinking warning shot probably saved some lives.

Also, if you are forced to climb up a tree to protect yourself from a bear I guarantee one or two well placed shots to the head will most effectively convince the bear you are not worth the effort for them to continue climbing.

Fortunately I have never had a close encounter with wolves but I have had friends who have and they described some pretty scary close encounters to me. On the other hand, I have had more than one occasion when I am sure a pack of coyote were stalking me as I ventured deep into the woods or came very near my campsite. Having a sidearm with me took a little bit of the tenseness away from these encounters.

A handgun will benefit you if your outdoor event becomes a survival scenario

Firearms can come in handy for other things beside personal defense too. For example, if you should hurt yourself out on the trail and lose your ability to travel a well-timed gunshot into the air can alert a search party to your presence. You can also use a bullet to help you do such things as start a fire.

Arguments against carrying a sidearm

Causes fear among others

It is a pretty safe bet if you stumble upon other hikers out in the remote wilderness and your firearm is not concealed it will make those people a little intimidated in most circumstances. Some may even freak out about it.

Makes the woods a more dangerous place

There is some truth to the fact that if every person going into backwoods areas carried a firearm it would become a much more dangerous place just by the sheer number of firearms present. This is especially true if these firearms are being carried by people who have not been properly trained to use them.

It gives people a false sense of protection

Having a firearm strapped to your side can actually lower your guard against some very real threats in the wilderness. It may do such things as give you false confidence you can get closer to bears or make you so comfortable you choose not to leave an area that presents the possibility of some real hazards to your personal safety.

If You Decide To Carry Do It the Right Way

Make sure you are proficient with that sidearm

The only thing more potentially dangerous than someone carrying a sidearm with them as they go into the deep woods is for them to not know how to properly use it. If you are going to carry a sidearm with you on your outdoor adventures then know its safety features, how to clean it properly and practice shooting it on a regular basis.

Do it legally

Know the local laws and regulations as far as carrying firearms is concerned. Some states do not allow carrying firearms in such places as state parks and they are never allowed in federal buildings (such as ranger stations).

In some jurisdictions you are never allowed to carry a concealed weapon even with a permit but you can do such things as open carry a firearm. So make sure if you do decide to carry a firearm with you when remote fishing or hiking you do it in the right legal way for the area you will be travelling in.

Carry your sidearm comfortably

You want to make sure you carry a handgun with you that does not burden you on your trip. A firearm that is bulky or weighs a lot could make your hiking, fishing or camping trip much more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Remember you are carrying a sidearm more as a precaution and deterrent so get a handgun that is lightweight and easy to carry.

Be considerate of others

If you can legally conceal your weapon in the area you are in then do it. Some people are really intimidated by guns no matter how good your intentions may be.

Knowledge of the area you are going into is just as important as your handgun

Educate yourself about the remote area of wilderness you will be trekking through to get to that fishing hole or camping spot. See if it has a history of such things as bear attacks or law enforcement agencies discovering hidden marijuana farms in the area.

Often Times the Final Decision Is Up To You

This type of decision is always one that ultimately will be left up to you and the laws of the local area where you will go hiking, camping or fishing. Personally if I am going to place that will allow me to carry a sidearm I am going to make that as much of a priority as bringing my favorite custom fishing rod and reel setup. If I was you I would do the same if I was confident with my sidearm and going into any remote area where there is even the slightest possibility where you may need the use of a firearm to help keep you safe.

Author Bio
Hi, my name is Ben ayad a.k.a Ben. I’m an IT project manager and founder of a newbie blog called I love outdoors activities and the nature that God has created, as any human being does. I share what I know about outdoors and also the passion of other outdoors’ lovers who pride themselves in living off the land for extended periods of time in wilderness settings across the US.