Someone on Reddit recently posted a rather controversial question to the /adirondacks group: Is it legal to bring a shotgun on a hike?

Here, paraphrased, is the original question:

I know about the bear and moose. I know the black bear is more afraid of you than you are of it... But in the off chance we see one and it does, for whatever reason, want to make us dinner... I would like to have one.

I've been on quite a few hikes in my lifetime, and I've never seen anyone who felt the need to carry a shotgun or rifle. Many of the commenters felt -- as I did -- that the concept was a little ridiculous.

Honestly, if you're that afraid of being killed by a moose or a black bear in the ADK's, maybe hiking isn't for you.


When it comes to carrying a firearm on a hike, not only are you lugging needless weight, the threat from wildlife on a high-traffic, public hiking trail is virtually nonexistent.

Here’s some advice, leave your shotgun at home. You’ll look like a doofus lugging that thing around and likely be the butt of the jokes for anyone passing you. You wont see a bear or a moose on Whiteface or Marcy.

But regardless of what these commenters felt about the ridiculousness of the scenario, the question remained: is it legal?


As far as legality, yes, it is technically legal, although it's dependent on the location. A county park may have a local ordinance against open carry, but in the greater Adirondack Park or Catskill Park, it is perfectly legal. However, the DEC stresses that it's much more reasonable to carry bear spray.

But remember... bringing your shotgun to hunt on state land? That's 100% illegal.

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