Officials asking hunters to wear orange
WATERBURY — The fashion mags suggest bold prints and the color gray are in this fall, but trendy hunters always choose hunter orange.
That’s because season after season, smart hunters choose fluorescent hunter orange. They know they are safer and understand it helps preserve Vermont’s hunting heritage. Because no matter how rare, each hunting-related shooting reinforces the mistaken perception that hunting is dangerous.
“Hunter orange is a choice in Vermont,” said Chris Saunders, hunter education coordinator for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “But that’s no excuse. In the past 10 years, almost half of the state’s hunting-related shootings might have been prevented with hunter orange. Some of these are tragedies and every one of them is a black eye for hunters.”
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 the state’s accidents. Both types involve visibility problems, and both underscore the need for hunters to be seen, especially during the firearms deer season.
“Waterfowl, turkey and archery deer are exceptions,” said Saunders. “But we still recommend hunter orange when going to and from your blind, tree stand or calling spot.”
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 color, 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.
Remember, hunting in Vermont is very safe, but it could be even safer if all hunters choose hunter orange. Our hunting heritage might be safer too.
Hunt smart. Hunt safe. Wear orange.
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