Last year was the safest year ever for Vermont hunters. There were no hunting-related shootings of any kind in any of Vermont’s hunting seasons. So far, 2013 is also accident-free and smart hunters can help keep this new hunting tradition going by choosing to wear hunter orange.
“2012 was a fantastic milestone for Vermont’s 70,000 licensed hunters,” said Chris Saunders, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s hunter education coordinator. “Credit goes to both the hunters and our 380 volunteer hunter education instructors. However, we can’t rest on our laurels. Every year should be accident-free, and wearing at least hunter orange hat and vest can go a long way to ensuring that.”
Hunters moving into the line of fire of other hunters and mistaking other hunters for game are two of the three most common causes of hunting-related shootings. Both types involve visibility problems, and both underscore the need for hunters to be seen, especially during the November rifle and December muzzleloader deer seasons as well as the rabbit, hare and upland bird seasons.
Nationwide, data support this. For instance, a New York study found that 94 percent of hunters involved in mistaken for game accidents 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. A deer’s vision is based on movement, patterns and color variations. Unlike humans, deer do not have multiple color receptors in their eyes. They can see color, but their spectrum is limited. This means deer must rely heavily on their ability to detect movement over the ability to interpret color variations and patterns.
Regardless of how well they see it, ample anecdotal evidence suggests they aren’t bothered by it. Yearly deer harvests in many of the states that require hunter orange exceed the size of Vermont’s deer herd.
Hunting in Vermont is obviously very safe in Vermont, but it could be even safer in the long term if all hunters choose hunter orange.
Contact: Chris Saunders, Hunter Education Coordinator, (802) 343-4587