News Releases

October 21, 2010

Wear Orange for a Safe Hunting Experience

Colors are associated with all sorts of causes and campaigns these days, but only fluorescent hunter orange promotes and preserves Vermont’s proud hunting heritage.

A hunting-related shooting is more than just a personal tragedy for the victim, the shooter and their families. It’s also a black eye for all hunters -- because no matter how rare, each incident casts hunting in a bad light by reinforcing the perception that hunting is dangerous. As result, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department strongly urges hunters, especially during the firearm deer season, to include some fluorescent hunter orange clothing with their other essential gear.

“Hunter orange is a choice in Vermont,” said Chris Saunders, Vermont’s Hunter Education Coordinator. “But that’s no excuse. In the past ten years, almost half of the state’s hunting accidents might have been prevented with hunter orange.”

In a review of 20 years of Vermont hunting-related shooting reports, hunters not making sure what lies in front and behind their target and mistaking other hunters for game are two of the three most common causes of the state’s shootings. Both types involve visibility problems, and both underscore the need for hunters to see and be seen during the fall firearms deer season.

Nationwide data support this. For instance, a New York study found that 94 percent of hunters involved in mistaken for game incidents were not wearing hunter orange. This statistic is even more startling when you consider that 81 percent of New York hunters do wear hunter orange.

Concerns that deer are scared by hunter orange are unfounded. Recent research suggests deer do see color, though ample anecdotal evidence also suggests they aren’t bothered by it. Yearly deer harvests in many of the states that require hunter orange, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania exceed several hundred thousand animals a year.

Even blaze orange won’t help you if you don’t follow the four basic rules of safe hunting:

1) Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

2) Point your gun in a safe direction.

3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

4) Be sure of your target and beyond.

Hunt smart, think safety, and good luck.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: October 21, 2010 11:55:10