It's not a problem out here in Idaho, but I would check your state's hunting regulations. That is normally where you will find prohibitions on carrying long guns into the field. I know that in some Eastern states there is a presumption that you are hunting if in the field with a long gun. You may be able to solve the problem by getting a hunting license, but I'm not sure how it would be looked at if you had, say, a high-power rifle when all big game seasons are closed?
Silly rules, but unfortunately they do have the potential to get you tangled up.
^I assume by "use," they mean "fire," but I would do further checking to ensure that there is no ban on mere possession.It is unlawful for any person to use a rifle, pistol, or revolver at any time on any land or water area, controlled or administered by the Division of Wildlife, except while lawfully trapping, or hunting wild animals, or target practicing on a designated Division of Wildlife target range.
A quick check didn't yield any firearms regulations on state forests, but I did notice that many of them seem to have rifle ranges on them. Not sure what that means, if anything, for possession while camping in the forest.
This seems to indicate to me that if you are legal to have the weapon under normal circumstances, you are legal to have it in the field, in plain sight, with or without a permit:1533.29 Prima-facie evidence of guilt.
The finding of a gun, net, seine, boat, trap, or other device that is set, maintained, used, or had in possession in violation of the Revised Code or division rule is prima-facie evidence of the guilt of the person setting, maintaining, using, or possessing that property.
1501:31-15-02 [Effective until 1/1/2012] General hunting and trapping provisions.
(J) It shall be unlawful to carry any firearm or weapon unless displayed and visible on the outermost garment, and only when carried in accordance with the Revised Code. Persons possessing a valid Ohio concealed carry license issued pursuant to sections 2923.125 and 2923.123 of the Revised Code or a valid conceal carry license from a state with a reciprocity agreement with Ohio to carry concealed handguns, or who comply with federal legislation HR218, “The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004” are exempted.
And then I found this: http://www.ohioopencarry.org/legality-open-carry-ohio
So it seems to me that you can carry your rifle into the field while camping. I wouldn't point it at any animal except in the act of self defense, lest a game warden thinks you are hunting. IANALLegality of Open Carry in Ohio
There is no "Open Carry Law" in Ohio... the Ohio Revised Code does not authorize, prohibit, or otherwise regulate the open carry of firearms on foot. Open Carry of a handgun or long gun is protected across Ohio by virtue of ORC 9.68 which preempts any municipal laws prohibiting the act. There is no requirement of residency or license to carry openly in Ohio - however, you must be legally in possession of the firearm that you intend to carry. It is recommended that you be at least 18 to carry a long gun, and 21 for handguns.
Important! You may not carry a "loaded" handgun in a motor vehicle in Ohio without a recognized Concealed Handgun License. The definition of "loaded" in Ohio means you must have no ammunition in the gun, and no ammunition in a compatible magazine or speedloader anywhere in the vehicle.
You may not carry a "loaded" (same definition) long arm in a vehicle, even with a recognized Concealed Handgun License.
Other exceptions - not a comprehensive list:
- You may not carry in a room or open area covered by a Class D liquor license (bars and restaurants that serve alcohol for consumption on the premises) http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2923.121
- "No Guns" signs DO carry legal weight other than trespassing
Here is a great introductory video by Don (rottman43055): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-PN9M6AbUI
Here's a memo from the Greene county Prosecutor in response to a request by the Beavercreek Police Department (after this incident): http://www.scribd.com/doc/49957246/G...ce-Departments
Just out of curiosity, what dangerous animals are there in Ohio? I'm sure you have black bear, but is there anything else you are worried about?
For me, there is no finer weapon for bear defense than a .44 mag revolver.