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Backpacking Yellowstone with a gun: open or concealed carry?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by RyeDaddy, Mar 23, 2011.

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  1. RyeDaddy

    RyeDaddy New Member

    Anyone been to Yellowstone with a gun?
    I have a Yellowstone trip in June for the family. We're going go be there for two weeks doing backcountry camping, and Im going to bring a handgun.

    I'm familiar with the new law that allows me to carry in the park, I have a CHL so i can carry concealed or open. My question is whether anyone has been to Yellowstone, and did you carry open, or see anyone open carrying while you were there?

    I would rather open carry for comfort's sake, but Yellowstone attracts all kinds and I'll carry concealed if need be to avoid being stared at or scaring Californians.

    What's the consensus?
  2. McKnife

    McKnife New Member

    I am not certain, but I believe the law specifies only concealed handguns.

    As cool as it would be, open carry would probably bring out a SWAT team.
  3. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Active Member

    Have a feeling that 99.98% of Yellowstone visitors never get farther than 50ft from the car.
  4. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Neither of those statements is true. The National Park Law is now that there is no National Park Law. The same state laws outside the gates of the National Park now apply inside the National Park with no difference. Open carry without any permit at all is legal in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, so open carry without any permit at all is legal in Yellowstone National Park (except inside buildings regularly staffed by National Park employees because they are Federal facilities and will be posted with signs.)

    Open carry draws very little attention in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Wyoming just passed an almost Constitutional carry law.
  5. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Active Member

    I was there about two years ago. I was there in May for the second week they had opened up the roads, and the bears were just coming out of hibernation. Be warned that it is likely in June that there will be a lot of people out on the trails, so you will be more likely to come across a higher proportion of people who are scared of guns, and will thus be uncomfortable with you open carrying. The nice part is that if you get a ways out, you are more likely to meet actual back packing individuals who probably carry a gun themselves. There will also be a lot of foreign people there as well, but they will only be armed with cammeras. Based on my experience of having a relatively, though not bad, close encounter with a griz, I would carry a gun as well. They are numerous in Yellowstone. However, do to the massive turist industry there, they are also quite used to being around people. None the less, KEEP YOUR CHILDREN CLOSE, since they may startle a bear and that could be really dangerous.

    What caliber and make of gun are you bringing? Is it easily concealable? If it is, I'd definately recomend doing so to avoid scaring the city people. Of course, if the gun is easily concealable, is it really enough for a griz?
  6. lloveless

    lloveless New Member

    What NavyLt said. On the other hand there are probably a bunch of liberal types there during tourist season, that would be happy to agitate. I personally conceal carry everwhere in public(except where posted), and open in the field.
  7. RyeDaddy

    RyeDaddy New Member

    Thanks for the replies so far, still interested in hearing other opinions. I've never been there, but I know that in Wyoming like Texas people don't worry about guns. Yellowstone is not full of Texans and the like so it's worth asking.

    As to my gun I've got a few options. I'd like to carry my Ruger Blackhawk, which is obviously an open carry only proposition. Otherwise it'd be a Colt Delta Elite 10mm, or my Glock 23, either of which can be carried concealed but I'd still prefer open as I'll be hauling an Eberlestock bag. The 40 cal Glock may not be the best choice for bear defense, we'll be carrying bear spray first, but when push comes to shove I think 13 rounds of 200 grain FMJ beats a sharp stick for sure.
  8. rozziboy18

    rozziboy18 New Member

    open carry.

    one reason. BEARS!!!!
  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire New Member

    Assuming what NavyLt is correct and I believe it is, I would open carry discreetly away from the roads and tuck that black hawk in my pack when close to "civilization" and the tourist masses.

    The reason as stated... BEARS, not that you want to shoot one unless you have to protect yourself or your family. Be sure to follow the bear prevention guidelines for storing food at your camp site.

    I guess the only loose end is to check that open carry is legal for non-residents and I have no idea as I would have my permit which would make me legal whether open carrying or concealed carry in WY.
  10. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    There is no law prohibiting open carry in Idaho, Wyoming or Montana. Residency is a non-issue since there is no law to violate.

    Why all this concern over how other tourists might react? And if they are afraid of the gun, how does anyone expect that to change if the public does not see normal Americans carrying guns in normal American life? And so what if they are scared?!? What are they going to do, call Ranger Smith? What is the Ranger going to do.... sorry if the other person's completely legal activity scares you.

    I open carry every day in one of the most liberal, hippie infested part of the US, western Washington, including Seattle. 99% of the people don't even notice or have no reaction if they do.
  11. Rick Roll

    Rick Roll New Member

    I completely agree with NavyLT. I only open carry on the trails around here (Alabama). People never seem to mind, although I also am not stopping them on the trail to ask their opinions :neener:.

    When it come to your personal safety, especially in the back-country, I would lean towards whatever mode of carry allows you quick, safe and effective access to your firearm. OC seems to be more amenable when hiking simply due to the presence of your other gear.
  12. Magoo

    Magoo Member

    I've spent a good bit of time in Ystone and am planning another trip this summer. In all that time, my scariest critter encounter was with a cow moose and her calf. I came around a bend in a brushy trail and found myself within ten feet of a wobbly legged calf with mommy on the other side. She was not happy. I'm 6'5" and her shoulders were even with the top of my head :eek:. I slowly backed up as she position herself between me and her baby. Plenty of bear encounters, but nothing dangerous.

    My point? If you need the gun, you may well need it in a hurry. Surprising critters is not a good way to encounter them ("bear bells" are popular, but I hate them). I'd OC and consider a harness that keeps the gun very quick and easy to draw- maybe rig a chest harness off the pack straps. I don't have an appropriate bear caliber pistol, but I'll have 13 rounds of .40 cal in the front of my fishing pack this year.

    I've never carried bear spray and I'm sure I'd soil myself if I had to stand my ground against a charging bruin until it was within range. I think a good noisemaker will go a long way as a deterrent, if not just piece of mind.

    Now to spend the rest of the day dreaming of the Lamar Valley....:)
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire New Member

    I think NavyLt that we will just have to disagree on the carry issue. I don't believe in making anyone uncomfortable unless I am intentionally trying to do so. We will both do as we see fit. We have had these discussions before in other threads. In the woods I do one thing and usually in a urban area or populated area, I do another.
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Active Member

    Open carry.

    1. It's more accessable (that's why cops carry openly.)
    2. It's more convenient if you're carrying a pack.
    3. You can carry a more appropriate gun (say a Ruger Blackhawk instead of a S&W 642.)
    4. To educate the liberals.
    5. To proudly exercise your constitutional rights.
  15. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Amen! Meeting people who've never seen law-abiding American citizens openly keeping and bearing arms is an opportunity to educate people. We'd be a far happer, safer, saner, and more polite nation if millions of us openly exercised our right to keep and bear arms on a daily basis.
  16. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

    Carbine in a decent caliber. But that would probably cause even ranger Rick to want to "have a word".
    If I were to go backpacking, I would take my CZ 527M carbine with my CZ Phantom 9mm sidearm. Why? Both very light and handy tools, and some wildlife is a bit bigger than my handgun bullets are designed for.
  17. jmr40

    jmr40 Active Member

    I'd prefer concealed. I haven't been to Yellwstone since the law changed, but have hiked in the Smokey Mt. National Park. Just be aware that while carry in the general park is allowed, (with a proper permit) it is not allowed in any park building where federal workers are present.

    I'm not sure what Wyoming's carry laws say. A permit may not be needed there. Also remember small parts of the park are in Montana and Idaho. Make sure of the carrry laws in those states as well
  18. hirundo82

    hirundo82 New Member

    Of the three states, Wyoming has the most restrictive carry laws. All 3 allow open carry without a permit, but Wyoming is the only one that requires a permit for concealed carry outside of town limits (although soon residents can CC anywhere in the state w/o a permit).
  19. verge

    verge New Member

    June two years ago we were snowed in in a blizzard in Yellowstone. It took us 8 hours of driving in 6 inches of snow to get from the middle of the park to the hotel at the west entrance. There were other people there but it was by no means crowded.
  20. Mt Shooter

    Mt Shooter New Member

    Guess Ill ring in here, I conceal carry. there are a lot of people there and alot of them from a foreign country. Alot of them are Asian and dont speak English, concealed would eliminate alot of problems/questions. Good luck,watch for bear and remeber those animals are not tame.
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