Yellowstone National Park is a uniquely situated national park. It spans portions of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
For gun owners that want to travel with their hunting rifles or handguns, it is important to understand the rules and regulations that pertain to legal possession of a firearm in not only the national park but also within each state.
Before you travel to Yellowstone National Park, here is some helpful information that you should consider if you plan on bringing a firearm.
Yellowstone National Park Firearm Rules
According to the US National Park Service, federal law does allow individuals to have in their possession a firearm when traveling through or visiting Yellowstone National Park.
There are places within Yellowstone National Park where visitors are not allowed to carry their firearms. This includes visitor centers and Park Service offices. In these instances, the National Park Service clearly indicates that firearms are not allowed with signs at building entrances.
While you are legally allowed to possess a firearm within Yellowstone National Park, hunting or discharging a firearm within park limits is not legal. One of the primary purposes of our National Parks is to provide safe places for wildlife to live with minimal impacts from humans.
Individuals that wish to travel into the backcountry areas of the Park, should not use firearms as a means of protection from bears, wolves, mountain lions or other predatory animals. Even if done as a matter of self-protection, shooting an animal within Yellowstone National Park boundaries is against the law.
If you desire to hike or camp in the backcountry, you should be prepared with other means of protection like bear spray, or other means of non-lethal wildlife deterrents.
Montana Gun Laws
Montana has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the nation. If you are visiting the portions of the park that are within Montana state lines, you’ll need to understand these laws, along with those pertaining to possessing firearms within the National Park boundaries.
Individuals in Montana are allowed to conceal carry a firearm without a permit if they are participating in an activity such as hunting, backpacking, or ranching where a firearm may be used for recreation or personal protection. However, to legally carry a concealed firearm at any other time you will need a permit.
Montana recognizes concealed carry permits that are issued by most other states, but not all. Before you travel to Montana, make sure your concealed carry permit is recognized.
Montana also allows for open carry of firearms, anywhere in the State for individuals that are at least 18 years old. This includes open carrying of a gun in your vehicle as well.
Wyoming Gun Laws
Surprisingly, Wyoming gun laws are a bit more restrictive than Montana’s. Open carry of firearms is allowed for residents and visitors at least 21 years of age.
Visitors to Wyoming must hold a concealed carry permit from a reciprocal state to legally carry a concealed firearm on their person or in their vehicle. Concealed carry is not legal for individuals under the age of 21.
Idaho Gun Laws
And on the flip-side, Idaho has even less restrictive gun laws than Montana. In general, so long as you are at least 18 years old, you can legally carry a firearm either concealed or in the open in the State of Idaho. Idaho does have limitations on concealed carry weapons within government buildings, but that is not surprising.