Two guns while hunting?

I am interested in your thoughts on hunting with pistols. Do you recommend taking 2. The one you hunt with and your self defense one ?

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Illinois has specific laws about handgun hunting. It also has a part of the ccw law that states you can carry a handgun concealed during firearm deer season, only if the handgun fits within the handgun hunting rules. That said, it’s easier than you think to conceal a gun that’s a foot long, and weighs 3 lbs during late November early December. So, yes, during firearm deer season I carry my Mossberg 535 shotgun, and I concealed carry my 6 inch Ruger GP100 .357 mag. I would also think, if you were open carrying a hand cannon, and concealing, say a 4 inch .357 revolver, that would be legal as well. Make sure you got Ammo that fits the law also. In Illinois, that means no FMJ type ammo for hunting.

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You can but I see little purpose in it. I hunt with .45acp, 10mm, .41RM and .44 mag using high quality JHP ammo which is also excellent for SD purposes.

The chances of getting myself into a deadly force encounter while hunting are astronomically low to start with since as a rule criminals are looking for easy prey rather than armed resistance and I’m already well armed and able to deal with the situation with my hunting gun/ammo already.

Why complicate things and burden myself with the additional gun and ammo?

If I were to carry anything else at most I think I’d probably consider carrying some deeply concealed micro compact or snubbie backup gun in the event I was surprised and relieved of my primary but in all the years of hunting in the US and abroad I’ve never had an issue.

Never hunted with a pistol, so I’m not exactly sure what your “hunting pistol” would be. I do hunt with a rifle and I always carry a revolver back-up in the woods. The primary self-defense encounter in my area would be against a bear. Would never trust a semi-auto for a bear encounter, since bear fights ALWAYS end up on the ground with direct muzzle contact as well as lots of hair draping over your gun. A semi-auto will malfunction in a bear fight. A revolver with +P hard cast is your best defense. And they’ll work on smaller predators as well.

If your hunting pistol is not appropriate for doing quick, close range self-defense shooting, why would you not carry a 2nd gun? Recent headline news is full of various wilderness encounters with bad guys. You can run into a human predatory pretty much anywhere. Remember, if you hear banjos, get out.

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I bought up every last round of the Winchester Dual Bond Ammo I could find in .41m, .44m, and .45-70 as soon as I heard it might be discontinued.

Many years ago, before the new Clinton Era restrictions on “cop killer bullets” Corbon (I think) produced a hard cast with a dart or nail like tungsten penetrator in it’s core which was a fantastic bear defense round and was even better on large wild hogs. I only have to deal with bears when hunting or fishing in the rockies but am fortunate enough to have a near endless supply of wild boar/feral hogs exceeding 300lbs so I’ve had near endless opportunity to test various hunting and self defense rounds on them.

My preference for hunting/boar/bear backup is still the Dual bond but heavy hard cast bullets are a very close second. I wish someone would go back to producing the HC in a hollow point with the tungsten penetrator though.

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I hunt with a 5” 1911. I’ve changed the barrel to a match barrel as well as the bushing. That makes it a modified firearm.

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Those are not the types of modifications that any reasonable person would consider makes the gun more deadly or dangerous, simply more accurate and reliable.

Not to insult he great John Browning, but some improvements have been made since 1911 to his almost perfect design.

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I agree completely.

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And it’s a gun that you hunt with. If you were in the field, with a hunting tag, and gear you are hunting. If, you ever had to use that gun while hunting, for self defense your lawyer would/should be able to articulate you were hunting. I wouldn’t want to be walking down the main drag, with a 460 XVR on my hip. That might be considered “excessive.”

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In addition your loads need to be factory loads that the manufacture has published as reaching 500ft pounds at the muzzle. That would require a rather hot .357 load, so you are almost required to carry a .44 here in the Peoples Republik of Illinois.

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My hunting load


783 ft/lbs. Their test gun is the same gun I hunt with. And they are hot!

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My first handgun purchase was my .357 mag for the purpose of deer hunting in Wisconsin in 1985 (the first year it was legal to use that or a .44 mag for deer I the state).

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How do they enforce this ? It would seem that would need to carry a chronograph and have access to a bullet trap ?

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Probably a whole lot of officer discretion. If they strongly suspect you are under the limit simply seize your gun and ammo and test it.

For a game warden suspicion is all they need. They have pretty much the broadest powers of all LEO’s with respect to search, seizure, even entry to your home.

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They still have to answer to the 4th Amendment to the Constitution though !

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The manufacturers “advertised” velocity and muzzle energy. I keep the box with me so I there aren’t any “question” about if it’s legal or not.

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So, simply keeping a box advertising correct velocity regardless of the actual ammo you are using is all that is needed to circumvent this law ? Seems kinda silly to implement something so easy to work around.
I use reloads to hunt with.

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Not sure, but I suspect WildRose is correct. I found out about the ammo requirement while sitting through my youngest son’s hunter Safety course.

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Pretty much. It really is an “honor system” when it comes to that. There is a minimal amount of science in the law. Must be a revolver or single shot pistol, of at least 32 caliber, with an advertised muzzle energy of no less than 500 ft/lbs. 327 magnum is about the bare minimum for that. Almost all .357 mag and up “revolver” cartridges can eclipse that. Barrel length is no less than 4 inches. There is no upper limit on straight wall revolver/single shot pistol cartridges or power. You can even use a centerfire, bottleneck cartridge single shot pistol, as long as the overall case length is less than 1.4 inches. 300 blackout fits the bill for that. I’ve seen a lot of converted single shot AR pistols in 300 Blackout that are 300 yard deer slayers.

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I would think the ammo has to match the box…

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