A Frederick County delegate has proposed legislation that would expand rules allowing bow hunters to carry handguns.

Delegate David E. Vogt III (R-District 4) testified in support of House Bill 636 in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday as part of a lengthy hearings on “gun bill day.” It would make an existing provision that the Department of Natural Resources can’t bar a licensed bow hunter 21 or over from carrying a handgun a statewide law.

The hunter would have to be otherwise authorized to carry the handgun and would not be allowed to use it to kill wounded wildlife.

The current law restricting DNR applies only to a person hunting deer in deer management region A, which includes Allegany and Garrett counties and part of western Washington County.

Vogt said that the bill was modeled after one passed unanimously four years ago. The idea behind it is to help hunters defend themselves in case of a bear attack or other dangerous situation in the woods.

More controversial measures before the Judicial Committee included ones that would make it easier for school staff to carry guns and one that would allow guns in churches.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

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(4) comments

AvidHunter

So both comments above criticize hunters of wanting to be armed in self defense to attacks by animals? Let’s simply talk logically for a moment as I make points to let folks understand the issue.
1. Region A has bear hunting and Region B also has bear hunting. So it makes sense that a person should be able to arm themselves Incase they get between a Sow and her cubs. A woman was attacked in Frederick County Region B in November of 2016. Should this include the entire region B area? Maybe not, but perhaps DNR should include an exception for Frederick County or all counties where bear can be hunted legally since it is only legal due to population issues and on a lottery basis?
2. Hunters already carry rifles during rifle season and it hasn’t become the Wild West. So there is no difference between carrying a handgun for self protection during any other part of the season in my opinion. This has already been law in Region A for years and there hasn’t been any issues of a hunter harming anyone with a handgun or illegally harvesting deer with a handgun while in bow season.
3. There is a clear and direct difference between hiking/biking and hunting. When you kill an animal you are sitting in an area with raw meat. What could be more tempting to an omnivore like a bear? Heck, what about the wild coyotes? What about the wild boar that was just killed in the Frederick watershed?
These aren’t delusional fears. I feel everyone should have a right to carry for self defense and that’s another topic, but in the woods for self defense against animals? Why not? Perhaps the regions need to be addressed more properly based on needs and hunting options? Perhaps not? Perhaps this is a DNR issue that they could move on? It’s still a good bill that brings an issue to the surface. Regardless of people’s childish attempts to namecall.

shiftless88

How many bow hunters in Maryland have been attacked by wild animals (other than the ones they were hunting) in the past twenty years?

Hog Jowl

Didn't know we had so many sissies bowhunting and you sure have to watch out for them bears on the eastern shore!

shiftless88

Lots of people are out hiking and biking through the woods without the need for handguns to protect themselves from bears. Take some bear spray! What a lame excuse.

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