Only time I carried a handgun while hunting is when hunting that same area that Buffybr was talking about outside of Yellowstone during the early rifle elk and deer season. And then it was just a snubnose .38 and the only time I pulled it was to shoot a grouse.
Here is an inexpenive and effective deer feeder I made recently.
No batteries to go dead, no hoisting it up in the tree, plenty of capacity, very easy to fill - so far, I love it.
I have made two of these and they are easy to build.
An empty 55 gallon drum, some 2x4's, some PVC tubing and fittings, a little bit of hardware and some paint - and you are ready to go.
I designed it so you can stand on the lower rung and fill it - the top is about 6.5 feet above the ground.
It holds about 375...