You may spend every weekend hiking different trails and never experience any dangers, but that doesn’t mean they are nonexistent and never happen. With so much unknown in the world, it is safe to say you never know what–or who–you will encounter.

Before we go on, it is important to first read your state’s laws about carrying a weapon as well as shooting an animal. Each state has open carry and concealed carry laws on the type of gun and/or rifle allowed, and even down to the age requirement of the shooter.

So why should you take a gun on the trail?

It’s never known what kind of stranger you will run into, especially in the woods. As harsh of a reality it may be; robbers, rapists, and murderers are everywhere, but a quiet hidden spot is great for any kind of predator.

Depending on where your trail is, although very rare you may meet a bear or a mountain lion. It’s important to remember that shooting animals on a hike can be against the law, know your state laws and prohibitions before taking your gun with you.

In the end, it does make sense to sometimes take your gun on your hike with you. Knowing when is what takes much attention and deliberation. Double-check the carry and concealed weapon laws in your state before you head out on your adventure!