Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill (SB 212) that will allow bowhunters to carry any firearm of their choosing with them during bowhunting season.
The issue of carrying any firearm during bowhunting season was somewhat controversial in the legislature — even among avid sportsmen — because of the potential for bowhunters to use the guns as hunting weapons to take deer when other hunters aren’t allowed to use guns. But advocates for the bill insisted that the bill was intended to allow bowhunters to protect themselves against aggressive animals that aren’t being hunted during bowhunting seasons.
Before the bill was signed, hunters were only allowed to carry .22 caliber pistols loaded with ammunition known as “rat shot” for the purpose of killing snakes and rats. That size ammunition would not be effective in killing larger animals such as hogs and bears.
“You’re out in the woods, whether it be hogs, bears, maybe poachers — you never really know who you’re going to run into.” state Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, said during testimony on the bill in May. “I’ve had some interesting situations and you’re stuck there with a stick and a string. … I would feel a lot more safe if I could carry a gun to and from my (tree) stand.”
Jindal said in a statement that the bill affirmed the second amendment right to bear arms, and that he was signing it because he believes the right to carry firearms should be expanded.