VT Right to Carry While Bowhunting

     Bow hunters are often faced with a dilemma. Many states stipulate that while out hunting the only implement they are legally allowed to carry is their bow. They cannot carry a handgun of any kind, including such anemic pistols as snubbed-nosed .22s or similar semi-autos. This becomes an issue for hunters who want to have some means of quickly killing mortally wounded, immobilized game and especially for hunters who want to have a more accessible means of defense against wild, possibly rabid animals or human threats. Fortunately Vermont bow hunters no longer have to go unprotected.
     On Friday, June 14th Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed the Sportsmen’s Act of 2013. This is a comprehensive piece of legislation which covers all aspects of fish and wildlife, not just hunting and fishing. One provision “Allows for possession of handguns during archery season and while training hunting dogs. Creates more consistency with rights currently afforded to hikers, wildlife watchers and others.” Needles to say bow hunters are not allowed to use their pistol to harvest game.
     This is a significant step for Vermont’s bow hunters. As the legislation points out, hikers are free to carry a pistol for protection when they are enjoying the outdoors. Bow hunters should not be excepted simply because their reason for being afield is to hunt game. Most handguns do not offer significant advantages over bows and handgun hunting is frequently considered on par with bow hunting in terms of difficulty. Additionally the typical pistol rig for hunting is a bit cumbersome for someone pretending to be out bow hunting. In this era of gun control hysteria it is nice to see a governing body granting more freedom instead of tearing it away.

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