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Concealed Carry Tips for Hunters: All You Need to Know About Self-Defense Firearms in Hunting


As a hunter, you shouldn’t take your defensive firearm for granted simply because you already carry a rifle or a shotgun. Some people bring it along only to leave it in their backpack at camp. Or, for some others, they don’t bring one with them at all.

That could be a costly mistake. You don’t know what or who you could face while you’re out and about, especially in the wild. Even if you have your rifle in hand, they may not be very useful in certain defensive situations. This is why we always recommend that our readers carry a concealed firearm on their person at all times.

Today Kevin From DeerHuntingField.com, he will tell you some special concealed carry tips for hunters that you must know before you set out for the wild.


The Case for Concealed Carrying for Hunters


Like we said earlier, a lot of people don’t carry a concealed firearm when they’re hunting. It’s considered by many to be excessive and unnecessary. But hunting rifles, bows, or crossbows tend to have very limited self-defense use. You’re far better off with a standard pistol with a full magazine.


Well, you don’t know what manner of dangerous wild games you’ll be running into while you’re hunting. You could accidentally cross paths with a grizzly bear while you’re walking through the forest, for example. Quickly drawing your pistol and unloading could save your life rather than having to heft and aim your single-shot rifle or shotgun.

Other than grizzly bears, there are dozens of other dangerous threats lurking on hunting fields, as well. Moose, cougar, black bears, and bison are all lethal threats. These animals are associated with many tragedies, so it’s best that you’re prepared if there’s even a remote chance that you could run into one of them.

However, other than animals, you may have to ward off people, as well. It’s truly lawless in the wild. You don’t know who you’re going to meet and, unlike when you’re in town, you cannot call 911 for immediate assistance from the police. If anything bad happens, it’s you who will have to deal with it.

In Wisconsin, 2004, a man trespassed onto private land and hid on a tree stand with an SKS rifle. He ended up killing 7 people, some of whom are hunters. Other than this infamous incident, there have been many more occurrences of trespassers and hunters engaging in firefights over the years. Hunter-on-hunter firefights have also been recorded.

Having a concealed firearm with you is an insurance against all of these threats. So, keep it on you at all times!


Tips Worth Remembering for Concealed-Carrying Hunters


Tip #1 - Buy a good holster

A good holster is equally as important as a good firearm. Without one, your gun could fall and get lost somewhere without you even noticing. A good holster will also protect your gun from dirt, impact, and all that the environment has to offer.

Whether it’s a tacti-cool kydex holster strapped to a thigh rig or a cowboy-style leather holster, just make sure that it’s well-made and can do the job reliably. The last thing you would want to happen is needing your self-defense firearm and reaching out for it only to realize that it’s fallen off somewhere.


2. Use a Retention Device

Unlike normal concealed carrying on the street, you will be moving around quite a lot while you’re hunting. So, to minimize the chance of your gun falling off, you should use a retention device. It could be a thumb break, a hammer thong, or a simple elastic lanyard. Whatever will work so long that the firearm is firmly attached to your body at all times and, even in case it falls off, you will know.


3. Select a Suitable Firearm for the Job

For self-defense purposes, there are a lot of options available to you. Depending on what kind of hunter you are and what you value in a firearm, pick one accordingly.

For example, if you’re a mobile hunter who moves around a lot, your back will appreciate a lighter gun. The Glock 20 or 40 series are both good choices. You can find them in either 9mm or 10mm. They are lightweight, but still pack quite a punch when it counts.

If you would like something with more stopping power than a meager 9mm, you will come to love something like a Smith & Wesson Model 629. It’s a revolver-type pistol chambering .44 Magnum. The cartridge has enough power to kill a whitetail with just a single, well-aimed shot.

If you’re not a very mobile hunter and prefer to stay in one place for long periods of time, you could choose a heavier self-defense weapon for yourself.

Heavier firearms will usually chamber heavier caliber cartridges with more stopping power, such as the S&W 500. It’s a pretty painful revolver to shoot, but when you got the shot out, the huge cartridge can stop just about anything on its track — including a grizzly bear.


4. Consider Picking a Dual-Purpose Firearm

To shed off as much weight as possible, consider getting yourself a firearm that could serve both as your hunting as well as self-defense weapon. In close range, pistols that chamber in .45 ACP have a reputation for having a good enough punch to stop big games in close range. It’s also an excellent cartridge for self-defense purposes, too.

If you need one of these, we wholeheartedly recommend a 1911. It’s a classic for .45 ACP.

But it’s unlikely that any hunter would use a pistol to hunt, though. In terms of rifle, an AR-15 could serve as both a hunting rifle and a close-quarter self-defense weapon at the same time. It’s semi-auto, lightweight, highly modular, and it also undoubtedly looks cool. Pair your AR-15 up with the proper accessories and it will become the perfect double-duty weapon for hunters.

Wish to get started now? Begin with this best shooting tripod for hunting.


5. Use a Backpack with a Slot for Firearm

A lot of hunters carry their self-defense weapon in their backpack. You can’t carry your pistol with you all the time, so this is completely understandable. For this exact reason, you should purchase a backpack with a slot for storing firearms.

Other than being roomy enough to fit your gun without being too problematic, you must also be able to access it easily and quickly. You don’t want to fumble with your backpack when the need for a self-defense firearm arises.

Fortunately, most backpacks for hunters are built with these slots and compartments. If you can’t find any, just search for “tactical backpacks” and you’ll find hundreds of good options.


6. Practice Often

Don’t just carry it with you and then never touch it off of the hunting field. Practice with your concealed carry gun often. Work with it enough that the drawing and firing motion becomes an instinct in response to danger. Even split seconds count in a dangerous situation that necessitates drawing a concealed firearm.

The best rated shot timers can help you train your instinct.




A concealed-carry firearm isn’t just important in town, it could also save your life when you’re out and about in the wild and hunting for your next, great game! And this is especially true if you pair it up with a custom made holster.


Do you fancy some more light reading? Then carry on with these articles:

Backup Firearm While Hunting

1911 Holsters Guide - How To Choose The Correct One

The [Ultimate] Holsters Guide To 2022 Carry