WY Gun Laws / guns for backpacking


May 28, 2004, 02:14 AM
Myself and two others are planning a backpacking trip to national forest land in northwest wyoming this summer. Few choices concerning gun laws and gun choices.

I've researched the laws somewhat. I know open carry is legal, and that our ohio ccw licensces are not yet honored in WY. No loaded guns in national park land but they're okay in the national forest where we'll be.

Is there any restriction on posession of guns from a hunting laws / poaching standpoint? We will not be hunting, but some states (west virginia I think) prohibit posession of guns out of season.

What guns would be reccomended. Currently available are:

XD40 40SW pistol
9x18 Makarov
22 pistol
Yugo M48 8mm mauser
Mosin M91/30 7.62x54
7.62x39 sks
Mossberg 500 12ga 18.5"

The 3 pistols will be coming regardless, the 22 for plinking and the other two are our normal carry guns.

Need advice on which long gun to bring or if one is necessary at all. I think one would be prudent in case we encounter any troubles with bears or other wildlife (and yes I know all about proper habits in bear country).

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May 28, 2004, 03:13 AM
It's Wyoming, for heavens sakes .... :rolleyes:

The only thing you might want to be careful about is loaded long guns in a vehicle.

But get yourself a 44 mag or 45 LC (+P) revolver.

Ben Shepherd
May 28, 2004, 09:36 AM
Since you lack a heavy hitter in the pistol dept. I would suggest the shotgun loaded with 00 buck or better. After all it's for defense, and if you have to use it it'll be up close and personal.

As for laws you should be okay, but check out www.packing.org for a link to the Wyoming AGs office, give them a call and check with them.

May 28, 2004, 12:12 PM
I'm not really in a position to buy another gun specifically for this trip, the only thing I'd consider would be a CZ52 maybe, but I understand te 7.62x25 to be about equivalent to a 357mag in power, still well under 44mag territory. Better than my XD for sure but I think I'll just take the shotgun. Opinions on heavy buckshot versus slugs? I've found threads on here advocating both.

Brian Williams
May 28, 2004, 12:51 PM
Remember you are backpacking.
Take the 22, the Mak and the XD. The 22 for plinking, but watch were you do this, and the other 2 for 2 legged defense.

The Idea is if you see wild stuff, avoid it and store your food high and away from camp.

A good inexpensive heavy hitter would be a taurus tracker in 45 colt, tis only five shot but should do.

Besides in bear country you only need a 22.

:D If you see a bear you shoot your partner in the knees and then you can walk away....:D :D :D :what:

May 28, 2004, 02:05 PM
My advice as to the guns...Go shopping! Use this as an excuse to go get yourself a stainless revolver in a Magnum caliber, or .45. I'd leave the autos at home. You can carry a box or two of ammo for the revolver, and not need to worry about your magazines.

May 28, 2004, 04:30 PM
Wyoming is pretty good about granting CCW reciprocity as expeditiously as possible. If Ohio law has a provision for reciprocity, you could check the WY AG’s website to see if Ohio permits are recognized by the time of your trip. http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/dci/CWP.html

It is very common to see people in the woods carrying openly when it’s not hunting season, and it shouldn’t raise any eyebrows, nor am I aware of any restrictions from a game law standpoint. In fact, coyotes are varmints and can be shot year round. If you have any specific questions, call the game and fish department or visit their website. http://gf.state.wy.us/

It sounds like you’re going to be in or near grizzly (and, now, wolf) country, and from your long gun list I’d take the 12 gauge with the hardest slugs you can find. There are a lot of threads on bear defense guns. Be sure to read Hunter’s posts on the ineffectiveness of buckshot.

May 29, 2004, 03:29 AM
WYO the problem is as of right now ohio is not honoring any other state's licensces and as I read the WY law they only honor out of state licences if it is actually reciprocal.

May 29, 2004, 08:48 AM

I now live in Montana & did live in Wyoming for decades. It sounds as though you're going up north of Cody, east of the park.

If so, you, being from Ohio, have no idea what the terrain & altitude are going to do to you. I'd suggest giving a whole lot of thought to getting the most bang for the ounce. And paring the other stuff you think is essential, to the bone. Your attitude on what is essential will have changed by the time you get back to Ohio.

The shotgun, in & of itself, is a good thing. But, the ammo is HEAVY. If I take a short-shot, I use alternating slugs & buck. However, I don't get too far away from the vehicle or camp with one. A lightweight .22 with maybe one box of 50 rounds is OK as a trail gun. A big bore revolver with a minimum of ammo is preferred for unexpected situations.

The odds of you having an animal encounter are quite low. Using your head is worth 5 lbs of ammo. The weather will be a far greater danger than anything on four legs. Can you say real-world intelligence test?


May 29, 2004, 08:32 PM
oh yeah, cfabe - another suggestion ...

Watch out for the stobor!


May 30, 2004, 03:24 AM
is that robots backward or some kind of mystical WYO creature?

May 30, 2004, 05:23 AM
but I understand te 7.62x25 to be about equivalent to a 357mag in power,

Not even close. The 7.62x25 is indeed a high velocity cartridge. It got about 1600 feet per second from the old Burp Gun, probably less from a CZ-52 (depending on the load). But it's with a 74-86 grain bullet. .357 magnum, loaded right, can do that same velocity with a 125 grain or heavier bullet.

But that's neither here nor there. None of the handguns you have seem very suited for use on dangerous game. .40S&W and especially 9x18mm Makarov are too lacking in penetration to be relied upon, even with FMJ ammunition. I'd go with the shotgun and some good slugs for critter defense, and the .22 for general plinking.

I'd probably still carry the .40, if the weight wouldn't be too much, just in case. .40 would probably be reasonably effective against a small cougar or something, assuming you could hit it.

Odds are you won't run into any dangerous critters, though. Keeping your wits about you is more important than what guns you have in any case.

May 30, 2004, 06:48 AM
is that robots backward or some kind of mystical WYO creature?"

RAH book "tunnel in the sky"
school survival trip advice.for barely surveyed planet.
kids spend all trip trying to decide which of the leathal animals they encounter are stobor. settle on a lemming /rat equivalant.
is psych trick to help keep folks aware.


Linux&Gun Guy
May 30, 2004, 09:03 AM
Ive read that book but I guess I need to read it again: All I remember is that they walk around in a canyon in part of the book.

Brian Williams
May 30, 2004, 04:38 PM
Yes it is Robots backward and was a kindly knock on Asimov's robots while Henlein was writing "Tunnel in the Sky". Tis something to keep one thinking about what is out there and keeping the mind out of "Condition White".

May 30, 2004, 07:33 PM
You know I read that story but forgot all about it.
At the time I didn't connect the play on the word robots

May 31, 2004, 02:08 AM
I moved to Wyoming in the fall of 1974. By the spring of l975, after my first moose encounter, I retired my .357 and acquired a .44 mag.

You will probably discover that most experienced outdoor people in Wyoming carry at least a .44 mag when in the back country. although many of our new arrivals and tourists carry bear spray in lieu of firearms.

A few of my friends have traveled into the various forests and wilderness areas for 30 years or more. They have each seen bears and had them near their camps but have never had a close encounter of the dangerous kind. They keep clean camps, and they follow the forest service regs.

You will receive a citation if you violate the FS rules and regs. The rangers and wardens do patrol the backcountry. Be sure to read the rules and regs put out by the forest service before you venture into the backcountry.

There is something to be said for bear spray, but I prefer to hedge my bet with a .44 or .454 Casull. I always keep my iron concealed when hiking in areas that are popular with tree huggers, peta's and grainola heads. They tend to get excited when confronted with firearms, but they are at ease when they see the bear spray.

I always operate within the law. I carry concealed in order to avoid scaring the sheeple and to avoid confrontations. Yes I have seen a few confrontations over the years because some irate dingbats from back east thought people in Wyoming should live by the same rules as them. I don't think so!

If you can acquire a larger caliber handgun and learn to shoot it, do it. If you can't then carry what you have. Most Wyoming residents, when camping, horseback riding, or hiking outside the Parks (Teton and Yellowstone), keep a rifle or shotgun in camp, but rarely carry them on the trail. If you are inclined to carry the extra weight that is your option.

I would purchase a couple of compact, powerful flashlights like Surefire G-2's. If you need to identify what made that noise in the dark, you will want plenty of light. The G-2 will be right there in your pocket. You won't need to fumble with a clumsy 4 cell flashlight.

I turned 60 last winter. At this point in my life I have no desire to become the respondent in a lawsuit brought against me by the state, the fed, or any other .org-such as grizzly bears 'r' us because I had to shoot one of their favorite critters in order to preserve my life. One of my buddies in Dubois turned himself in after a fatal grizz encounter. He received a smaller fine because he contacted the game warden and told how and why the grizz was shot. Note! A .375 H&H will kill a grizzly bear.

Nowdays I avoid areas (the Parks) where I am not allowed to defend myself and areas which contain large numbers of grizz. I feel the same way about black bears, mountain lions, and wolves.

Come and visit Wyoming. You will enjoy it. Bring whatever firearms make you comfortable. None of the residents will think bad of you for packing your iron. Don't point it at anyone. After all, we are allowed to shoot back. Ha Ha Ha

Use good sense, and try not to scare the other visitors. Remember, many of them come from places where firearms are not allowed. Stop worrying about the grizz, relax and enjoy the ride. Wyoming, what America used to be!

May 31, 2004, 08:04 AM
If your means allow such, might I suggest the S&W 329PD. It's a Scandium-framed 44 Mag, super light and IMHO the best backpacking pistol available. Granted, it's not one you'll want to shoot often with heavy rounds, but I'm betting the recoil will be the last thing on your mind if you find yourself in a situation where this kind of magnum round is needed.


June 1, 2004, 10:29 AM
If I can make a suggestion, sell a couple of your less appropriate guns and get a decent large caliber revolver. Smith&Wesson's are nice, but Ruger single actions are easier (more comfortable) to shoot with heavy loads. They are also less expensive. Stay with the 4 5/8" or 5 1/2" barrel for easy carry. If you handload, the 45 Colt is very good with 300 to 325 gr cast (solid) bullet loads, if you don't handload, the 44 mag is more sensible. Use 300 gr cast loads in it. Cor-bon makes factory heavy bullet loads. They are available at several gun shops in Cody, Rocky Mountain Sports usually has Cor-bon ammo in stock.

There is not a problem with a gun in a vehicle in Wyoming, so long as it is not concealed on your person without a permit, or concealed off your person but NOT in a holster or case. No case required, loaded is OK. Many people carry open in the mountains. If you are carrying a scoped bolt gun and sneaking up on a deer or elk you may have a problem with Game and Fish, otherwise you won't just out camping or hiking. If you bring the shotgun get some Brenneke original type slugs, they are NOT designed to expand. Bear problems are not common, but occasionaly do happen. People problems are even less common here. Bear spray is still a good idea, but I wouldn't like to have it as an only option. (Read the instructions, bear spray is NOT a "repellant" like bug repellant, it only works when sprayed in an animals face) Get everything that the Forest Service has regarding camp safety in bear country and READ IT. A clean camp will make the biggest difference in safety. If you can't get the Forest Service info by mail easily, then stop in the local Forest Service office and get everything they have, it's all free. Pick up a Forest Service map also, they aren't free. but are very good maps, even if you have topo's. Bring good bug repellant, Ben's 100 or Muskol are the best, and bring extra in case you lose your main supply. Figure on a stove to cook, We are in a 6 year drought and there may be fire restrictions by the time you get here. Violating fire restrictions may be a more serious offense than violating game or gun laws.

If limited to the guns you have, I'd want the .40 with heavy fmj loads, but then I'd put some of the others up for sale and get a 44 or 45 if there was time.

June 1, 2004, 10:43 AM
Are you SERIOUS!? Your going to carry all that garbage through the woods? Have you ever hiked at all?

I just got back from hiking in the 100mi wilderness here in Maine (which for the most part is 100mi of no towns or stores or anything). Walking 12mi a day (I'm a newb) with a 30-35# pack is all the work I want to do. I packed a G22 10+1 and a spare mag in a fanny pack rigged across my packs waist belt JIC of two legged encounters, and that weighed more than 4 days of food!

Once I started walking up that first mountain, I would have thrown all that stuff over the edge! What is the point of your little adventure? Are you just hiking out and staying a night, or are you through hiking?

I considered bringing a 12ga w/ slugs for any bears, and im very glad I didn't. By the end of the first night your just looking for ANY weight to get rid of.

Bring a light pistol for human defense if you feel it necessary, and some bear spray if you think its a huge risk. 100's of people hike the AT and parks and forests every year, bears arent a serious risk.. Keep a clean campsite, and hang your food away from where you sleep, and just enjoy the pain and anguish of hiking.

If you really want to plink (and I kind of wish I could have) just choose a HG that has a 22 conversion kit for it and bring that along.. Lighter than a whole new gun.

June 1, 2004, 11:22 AM
I was wondering about the weight as well. From what I remember about hiking is that most serious hiker measure everything down to the hald ounce. If I were you I would bring the XD and not much else. Bringing a shotgun is going to be a little on the heavy side.

June 1, 2004, 02:40 PM
Would second what they're saying on weight. You don't want anything you absolutely don't have to have on a back-packing trip. I'd only carry one gun.
Have you done a test run yet? Pack up everthing you plan to take and then go hike with it for several miles. You may decide you can live without this and that.
I've gone on 4-6 mile walking hunts, lugging a rifle, but then I'm travelling light, not lugging backpack, food, water, etc. for 2-3 days. One thing I like about a light rifle over a pistol on the belt/back-pack is that you can switch it from one hand to the other, over the shoulder, etc. and its usually quicker to bring it into action as you're already holding it. Never had a light shotgun, but yours sounds light with the 18.5" barrell.

June 1, 2004, 10:24 PM
Please pardon my annoyance, but......

ShaiVong, you have seen fit to critisize and belittle someone you do not know, for wanting to do something you have not done, and want to share your experience and opinion that does not really relate. I think you should apologise and be more polite in the future.

If you have not camped and hiked in Wyoming Grizzly country, then perhaps it may be best to forego commenting on the issue of bears (grizzlies). The AT is no doubt a good hiking experience, but does not compare to the country and wildlife that can be found here. I agree that one should consider weight as an issue, but our adventurers can make decisions as to what is appropriate for their needs and act accordingly. This experience will hone their choices for their next trip. I applaud their choice to come to one of the last bits of country left in the lower 48 that can give a feeling of being in a truly wild place, including things that can, and sometimes do choose to include people in the menu or list of things to kill that day. One grizzly has been killed near here this year, for raiding a camp, and there are several close encounters each year. It is not unusual for one or two people a year to be mauled by bears in this area. Several bears a year killed in defense is not unusual either. The Wapiti grade school recently celebrated getting a 6 foot+ high fence erected around the playground because of grizzlies coming around. You can make your choices for the conditions you encounter in the east, but please be aware that things may be a bit different here.

As for me, I keep a heavy caliber rifle (45/70 with heavy handloads) in main camp (vehicle camp, or short walk in) and ALWAYS carry a heavy caliber revolver on the trail. Like Elmer Keith said, after being in this country for awhile, you may forget to put on your pants in the morning, but you won't forget to put on your sixgun when you go into the mountains. Some areas I would not go into without a rifle. Weight is not an issue when you are properly motivated. I feel tremendously alive sleeping under the stars in these mountains, knowing that all is not safe and civilised as has happened to so much of the world, that I am on my own if things get interesting.

By the way guys, what area are you heading into? That may have some bearing on your question.

June 1, 2004, 11:36 PM
Hey Malamute, I don't think ShaiVong was reacting to you or to most others (since your respective opinions seemed to overlap, if not exactly agree, on a .40), but rather to the earlier "shotgun plus one or two handguns" concept. Or I could be wrong.

In either case, it would make a big difference to me if I were on the Appalachian [sp?] Trail, or if I were in NW Wyoming, where the bears can be five times bigger. Guess which place I'd want a bigger gun...

My son and I made it out to Wyoming the last two years, but I don't know if we'll make it this year, and I'm bummed. There's some really beautiful country, the gun laws are about as good as it gets, and I can't wait to get back. I'm working on a top secret, fallback plan "C" to make it happen this fall. If it comes together, I'll definitely bring a .44 mag, and maybe a .45-70 in the Jeep, or else the natives will think we're undesirables.

June 2, 2004, 12:26 AM
I didn't feel Shai was reacting to me, I felt he was being a bit hard on our thread starting adventurers.

I've lived here for 15 years, and been around off and on working in the area for several more before that. Things are just different here than one would find in the east. South of me about 60 miles or so a grizzly of about 750 lbs was killed a couple of years ago. This was not "prime" grizzly country he was in. Yes, they do get a bit larger here. To be fair, most people never have any problem, and I hope our guys don't, but it is wise to be capable of dealing with a bad situation if it does occur. Bear spray is effective. That is, it's effective when it effects the particular bear. The "experts" tell us the pepper spray works on about 96% to 98% of the population, people or bears. We must also take into consideration that if a stiff breeze is blowing, either cross wind, or worse, in your face, then pepper spray doesn't work too well(that is, unless you want to spray yourself in the face and be blinded when it may be most embarrasing). To have pepper spray as your only option in this country is to be "sort of" prepared.

I've done some back packing also, I was young and full of energy. My pack weighed about 75 pounds. I survived. I learned something. If I went packing in some areas around here my pack may be about that heavy now, because I'd have a rifle. Some places have more bears. I don't worry too much about them, but I don't go out without my options being open.

June 2, 2004, 12:39 AM
SteelyDan, check PM's

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