Hunting

Montana Hunting and Fishing Information

Montanans still enjoy the right and privilege to carry a handgun. With a training course, you can apply for a Conceal Carry card. Laws are constantly changing, so stay up to date.

Carrying a handgun is a big responsibility. I recommend that every citizen take a firearms course that meets their specific needs. Having a handgun is one thing, knowing how to use it is another. Skills need to be practiced and honed. 

I wear while walking my dogs. You never know what you may encounter. Other dogs and owners are not always friendly.

Opinions on firearms, pistols and handguns abound. Consider what you need and for what purpose. My ideas evolved and were learned from my experiences.

Hunters often carry a handgun with their bow, rifle, or firearm. So how should you…

Carry a handgun? YES! Better to be prepared than helpless. There are more reasons to be smart and carry than not. Bowhunters especially need to carry. You never know if a bear is chasing you or coming to kill you. If your bow or rifle is separated from you, the handgun is holstered.

Which caliber is the best? Pack what you need for what you fear. Grizzlies need more lead than a snake. For me, a 357 magnum is a good choice. I can load up or down depending on my needs. Snake fillers are also available. Guides in Alaska carry the same rifle and loads for protection from monster bears. 

Which holster is the best? You want secure transport. Make sure there is a flap, loop, or snug fit to keep the gun in the holster. Comfort is also important. I prefer a belt carry that keeps the gun safe and out of my way. Hunters already have a full panoply of gear including bag straps, binos, calls, and range finders.

What kind of ammunition is the best? Snake charges are for getting close. After 5 meters, forget them. For big predators, go for high-speed bear charges. Norma does big loads.

What is the best way to transport? Cases come in many variations. They can clip or slip onto your belt. You can also get a shoulder harness. Think about what you are doing when wearing. If I’m fishing, shooting or bowhunting, I wear on the opposite side. This helps prevent tangles. 

Automatic or revolver? I carry a gun. During a hunt, I had a friend who got charged by a bear. His 10mm semi-automatic jammed after performing a “warning shot”. Luckily the bear swerved and didn’t need a second round. A revolver rarely fails to cycle. You are guaranteed 6 shots. If a bear is on you, shoot it in the mouth or under its neck.

The goal is to never need to use your handgun. Use your other senses, experience, and training to avoid having to use the gun. Bear spray is fine, but you have to punch the bear in the face. Usually the spray catches you too. Have multiple layers of protection planned.

Plan A Bumping into your handgun reminds you why you’re carrying it. Pay attention so you never need it.

Plan B Use the gun with precision. If you feel threatened, aim to kill. Face and head shots are effective.

Plan C Carry a knife large enough to kill a predator.

Anglers may need to carry too! Rattlesnakes, bears, wolves, coyotes and other predators can ruin your day. Wolverines, groundhogs and other creatures also like fish and can become aggressive. Once I was coming out of a secluded trout stream when I walked into a flock of camouflaged rattlesnakes. They must have recently emerged from a den and all had misty eyes. It means they lose and are angry! I was carrying my 357 mag. With 6 snake charge rounds and 2 hollow point rapid chargers. I was shooting more than 2 snakes at a time and was running out of ammo.

Went off the trail through tall grass and into the creek. My gun was hot and in hand. I guess I was willing to go hand in hand if necessary.

Carrying a handgun gives you confidence, security and protection.

Montana Grant