Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Hunt smart--Hunt safe--Wear orange
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, Vermont Fish & Wildlife's hunter education coordinator. "But that's no excuse. In the past ten years, almost half of the state's hunting-related shootings might have been prevented with hunter orange. Every one of these tragedies 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 November rifle and December muzzleloader deer seasons as well as the rabbit, hare and upland bird seasons.
"Waterfowl, turkey and archery deer are exceptions," said Saunders. "But we still recommend hunter orange when you going to and from your blind, treestand 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 to 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.
A hunter orange hat and vest provide the minimum coverage recommended by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
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.