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Thread: National Forest Carry

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    What does anyone know about carrying in a national forest - specifically the GW and TJ? According to this webpage:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/general_info/index.shtml

    CC with a permit is OK. However, a friend was saying something about "wilderness areas" and that some places have signs that say "no weapons" or something to that effect. Judging from the website, it appears that CC is ok everywhere. Anyone know details?

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    Here's an old thread about this subject:

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...ational+forest

    There are links there that may get you the info you need.

    Basic summary is that if DGIF runs the land, CC with permit is allowed, and OC technically is not.

    Do not confuse National Forests with National Parks; the NP are run by a different federal agency which currently prohibits the defensive carry of arms. National Forests are owned by the federal government, but defer to the states for carry rules.

    There is an ongoing, painfully slow campaign to get DGIF to lift the restriction on OC, or to get the legislature to override them, but that hasn't happened yet.

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    Thanks tomahawk. I figured as much. Doesn't bother me too much - i have a permit anyway.

    Hopefully, things will change with national parks soon...

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    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    savery wrote:
    However, a friend was saying something about "wilderness areas" and that some places have signs that say "no weapons" or something to that effect. Judging from the website, it appears that CC is ok everywhere. Anyone know details?
    I think you may be referring to wildlife management areas (WMA). They are state land andare separate entities from national forests.

    Here are their rules...

    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting...s/wmarules.pdf
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    There are 'wilderness areas' in the national forests. All I've found are rules restricting motor vehicles. As for general rules.
    http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/general_...shtml#firearms
    Rules on Firearms What are the laws concerning carrying firearms on National Forest Land?
    First, the primary laws governing possession of firearms and other weapons on National Forest are State Laws. These laws were developed by the states following establishment of our Cooperative Wildlife Management Agreements. Most notable of the state laws concerns controlling firearms on the National Forest are “cased gun laws”.
    Cased Gun Laws: As the name implies, this law requires that all firearms on National Forest be unloaded and kept in a case. Virginia and West Virginia have similar “cased gun laws”. In order to allow hunting, these laws make an exception.
    • It is legal to have loaded firearms on National Forest during the authorized general firearms and muzzle loading gun seasons for bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, or waterfowl. This exception is very specific and applies only during the period when it is legal to take these listed species and doesn’t include carrying the loaded weapons in a vehicle.
    • Because hunting on Sunday is prohibited, carrying a loaded gun on National Forest is not legal on Sunday even if it is the Sunday in the middle of the general firearms deer season.
    • The second exception to this law allows people with a concealed weapon permit to carry a loaded, concealed, handgun either on their person or in their vehicle while on National Forest. This does not apply if the person is engaged in a primitive weapons season or chase only season.
    • Concealed handguns may be in the possession of hunters during the archery and muzzleloading seasons when they also possess a valid concealed handgun permit. Such handguns may not be used to shoot wild animals during these seasons.
    Discharging a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow in or across a road or within the right-of-way of any road is prohibited by both State and Federal Law.
    Any person convicted of a felony may not legally possess firearms on National Forest.
    Reckless use or handling firearms: It is a violation of both Federal and State law to handle any firearm in a careless and reckless manner or hunt while under the influence of intoxicants or narcotic drugs.
    TARGET SHOOTING - Target shooting is prohibited on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests by an Order signed in February of 1996. Target shooting on National Forest should be accomplished only at approved ranges.


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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I grew up on the boarder of the GW National Forest, went to high school with the son of the Chief Ranger of the District, spent most of my youth in the mountains and worked for the Department for a couple of summers.

    There are two types of National Forest. The tourist areas (Lakes and camping areas) and then Gods country.

    You will not find one local that goes to Gods country without a gun!
    I would go for weeks sometimes and not see another human. I can't ever remember seeing a Ranger off road or a Game Warden more than a half a mile off the road.

    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!

    You really only need a gun for two things in the mountains, bears and people. I don't worry much about people. I don't like them much and avoid them whenever possible. Bears aren't usually a problem. I happen to like bears. I don't hunt them anymore but I do take pictures of them. If you smell like the lunch you just ate, one might decide to try a taste. Bears and I have a mutual respect, they habe teeth and I have a gun.

    To give an idea of what a bear looks like close in the woods, I got this video yesterday.
    http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/a...t=IM000002.flv

    Oh, I forgot the POT GROWERS. Avoid em or shoot em. Not much middle fround.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Thank for the video link, Peter.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    peter nap wrote:
    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!
    It is legal, as long as you have a CHP!

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    That's a really great video, and picture!

    Also, I regularly carry in the national forest, I have a CHP, and it is perfectly legal as long as it stays covered, and you stay out of the ranger station. Also, I have yet to have any significant encounter with rangers.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!
    It is legal, as long as you have a CHP!
    Your right Hawk. I was going on the assumption that he did not have a CHP.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    dixiehacker wrote:
    That's a really great video, and picture!

    Also, I regularly carry in the national forest, I have a CHP, and it is perfectly legal as long as it stays covered, and you stay out of the ranger station. Also, I have yet to have any significant encounter with rangers.
    Thanks Dixie. I get a hundred or so pictures a week. Feel free to browse the albums. I don't even have a small percent on there because it just takes too much time to reduce the size....but there are a lot there.

    Here's the main album address.
    http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/a...t=IM000002.flv

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    I have spent much time in GWNF, and I have yet to see single ranger or ranger's vehicle. Closest I came to spotting a ranger was when I returned to my truck after a hike and saw there was a parking warning under my windshield wiper telling me I had to pull farther off the road.

    I have spotted many critters, including a no-sh!+ rattlesnake, on the trail, but rangers are like unicorns.



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    Tomahawk wrote:
    I have spotted many critters, including a no-sh!+ rattlesnake, on the trail, but rangers are like unicorns.

    An eastern diamondback? Really?

    Did you kill it or just let it be on it's way? I lived in Virginia for 11 years and spent a good amount of time in the woods but never saw one. Did see a copperhead once or twice though.. There are a lot more bears around these days as well..
    Peace through superior firepower

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    peter nap wrote:
    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!


    Oh, I forgot the POT GROWERS. Avoid em or shoot em. Not much middle fround.
    Well, I have encountered bears in the field as recently as last summerand have also been charged by moose. Having a gun in your pack renders it useless. I know this from personalexperience and won't make the same mistake again.

    My brother had his gun in his pack last summer and encountered a black bear while mountain biking. If the bear had cubs or felt threatened and charged, he told me he had no chance and felt that having his gun in his pack made it obselete. He was totallyat the mercy of the bear. Luckily, it didn't care and meandered off.

    If it needs to be concealed, there are better options than to carry it in your pack.

    http://store.thewilderness.com/index.php?cPath=51
    Peace through superior firepower

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    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!


    Oh, I forgot the POT GROWERS. Avoid em or shoot em. Not much middle fround.
    Well, I have encountered bears in the field as recently as last summerand have also been charged by moose. Having a gun in your pack renders it useless. I know this from personalexperience and won't make the same mistake again.

    My brother had his gun in his pack last summer and encountered a black bear while mountain biking. If the bear had cubs or felt threatened and charged, he told me he had no chance and felt that having his gun in his pack made it obselete. He was totallyat the mercy of the bear. Luckily, it didn't care and meandered off.

    If it needs to be concealed, there are better options than to carry it in your pack.

    http://store.thewilderness.com/index.php?cPath=51
    Useless is a pretty strong word. but to each his own. It's not that slows to draw from a properly set up pack. This is my daypack and the holster tucks inside the side panel.

    Not quite as fast as a shoulder holster but better than nothing.

    Yes, there are lots of Rattlesnakes in the mountains. Drive up on a cool evening and they are on the roads soaking up the heat. There aren't any moose though.




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    peter nap wrote:
    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    As long as your not going to be in the vacation spots, carry one (in your pack) nad you'll be fine and.....No, it;s not legal, but dead is forever!


    Oh, I forgot the POT GROWERS. Avoid em or shoot em. Not much middle fround.
    Well, I have encountered bears in the field as recently as last summerand have also been charged by moose. Having a gun in your pack renders it useless. I know this from personalexperience and won't make the same mistake again.

    My brother had his gun in his pack last summer and encountered a black bear while mountain biking. If the bear had cubs or felt threatened and charged, he told me he had no chance and felt that having his gun in his pack made it obselete. He was totallyat the mercy of the bear. Luckily, it didn't care and meandered off.

    If it needs to be concealed, there are better options than to carry it in your pack.

    http://store.thewilderness.com/index.php?cPath=51
    Useless is a pretty strong word. but to each his own. It's not that slows to draw from a properly set up pack. This is my daypack and the holster tucks inside the side panel.

    Not quite as fast as a shoulder holster but better than nothing.

    Yes, there are lots of Rattlesnakes in the mountains. Drive up on a cool evening and they are on the roads soaking up the heat. There aren't any moose though.


    Yes, maybe useless was astronger wordthan I meant asI wasn't trying to be confrontational. Ihave had a run-ins with some 4-legged critters and have had the gun in the pack, seconds away from access...I like your holster set-up but I thought the whole discussion was that it was supposed to be concealed per law.. Isn't that essentially openly carried?
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    Flintlock wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    I have spotted many critters, including a no-sh!+ rattlesnake, on the trail, but rangers are like unicorns.

    An eastern diamondback? Really?

    Did you kill it or just let it be on it's way? I lived in Virginia for 11 years and spent a good amount of time in the woods but never saw one. Did see a copperhead once or twice though.. There are a lot more bears around these days as well..
    An eastern timber rattler, indeed. I was on top of a mountain hiking the ridge top trail in bright sunlight, and the snake was stretched out in front of me crossing the trail from right to left. I had been expecting to see copperheads, having seen them a few times before, so when I spotted the snake I was amazed to see such a big copperhead. This guy was about 4 or 5 ft long and his middle was almost as big around as my wrist. The color also wasn't right for a copperhead.

    I was talking to the girl behind me when I saw it and I was only about 10 ft from it. I immediately jumped backwards, and the snake also recoiled backwards away from me into a coil. We had scared the crap out of each other. I took a step forward to get a better look, and he rattled once and then stopped. I backed up and got out my camera, with handy dandy telephoto lens, to take photos from a safe distance. If I can dig up the CD I stored them on I'll post one. Really great phot conditions, with the sunlight and the snake in the open and all. I'm not usually afraid of snakes, but copperheads are pretty small. Rattlers are big, with triangular heads and eyes like Satan. This was the real deal.

    They are very common in the mountains up in north central Pennsylvania, my uncle's friendsused to hunt them, but I've never had a close encounter like that before. The good thing is that they aren't very aggressive and will leave you alone if you return the favor. I didn't kill it, because I figured it might be illegal and I wasn't in any big danger. We just went around it and hiked on.

    About carrying while hiking: I also use a Safepacker. Works well and is comfortable on the thick waste belt of a backpack and keeps my 1911 right where I can reach it without moving any gear around, and also protects the pistol against abuse and weather. Only thing is it is not OC, so you can't take it into a VA restaurant with you.

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    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Yes, maybe useless was astronger wordthan I meant asI wasn't trying to be confrontational. Ihave had a run-ins with some 4-legged critters and have had the gun in the pack, seconds away from access...I like your holster set-up but I thought the whole discussion was that it was supposed to be concealed per law.. Isn't that essentially openly carried?

    It's hard to see but there is a panel that opens on the side. The holster can be rollrf into the inside of the pack. Just a tug brings it out in position to draw. Atlantic Leather charged me 12.00 to add the side slot.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    +1 on the Safepacker, carried my GLOCK 23 in a state park yesterday, but nobody out of dozens I passed had a clue it had a pistol inside.

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    longwatch wrote:
    +1 on the Safepacker, carried my GLOCK 23 in a state park yesterday, but nobody out of dozens I passed had a clue it had a pistol inside.
    Oh, so you finally got one? Good. Hiking season is just beginning!

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    I wasn't aware of those. I'm going to have to think about getting one.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    peter nap wrote:
    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Flintlock wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Yes, maybe useless was astronger wordthan I meant asI wasn't trying to be confrontational. Ihave had a run-ins with some 4-legged critters and have had the gun in the pack, seconds away from access...I like your holster set-up but I thought the whole discussion was that it was supposed to be concealed per law.. Isn't that essentially openly carried?

    It's hard to see but there is a panel that opens on the side. The holster can be rollrf into the inside of the pack. Just a tug brings it out in position to draw. Atlantic Leather charged me 12.00 to add the side slot.
    Ohhhh, I see.. That's a pretty neat set-up, I like it.
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    Tomahawk wrote:
    If I can dig up the CD I stored them on I'll post one. Really great phot conditions, with the sunlight and the snake in the open and all.
    Absolutely, if you can find it, please post one! That sounds like a really cool experience.
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    Thanks guys - I knew I was ok to CC (i have a permit) in the national forest, but the wilderness areas kind of confused me.


    When I'm hiking, two things that are always coming with me are a gun and my amateur radio handheld. I've been carrying in my pack - agreed, it's not the preferable way to carry, but i'd rather have it there than nowhere.

    The safepacker looks awesome - like a place for binoculars, a camera, maps, gps - to most folks on the trail, anything but a gun holster!

    I just hope that they open up national parks to carrying. That would open up a lot more opportunity for me....

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