Blaze Orange Saves Lives
While hunting is one of the safest ways to enjoy the outdoors, hunters who don’t wear blaze orange are more at risk. In 2010, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that in the past 20 years, 81 percent of victims in vision-related hunting incidents were not wearing hunter orange clothing.
Wearing blaze orange will decrease your chances of being mistaken for game. Since you can’t control factors such as other hunters, it’s crucial to make your presence known by wearing blaze orange.
“Hunter orange is the absolute best way to distinguish yourself from a game animal,” said Rod Slings, Iowa DNR Law Enforcement Supervisor (retired), CEO/Founder of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants, LLC. “On top of wearing blaze orange to be safe, hunters also should check with their state to see what the legal requirements are for hunter orange.”
What type and amount of hunter orange works best? Well, decide for yourself. This video puts the various styles and amount of hunter orange side by side—clearly showing what works and what doesn’t.
The differences are obvious. A plain orange vest isn’t nearly as effective as the combination of a blaze orange jacket and hat. The hat and jacket were noticeable far away, even in dense cover. It’s all about maximizing your presence to other hunters and minimizing the risk of being misidentified.
Slings added, “Non-hunters aren’t exempt from the rule. If you are in the woods hiking, photographing, walking your dog or whatever you might be doing, you need to be wearing blaze orange.”
Sadly enough, there have been many reports of misidentification resulting in an injury or fatality. It isn’t always a hunter shooting another hunter either. To Slings’ point, anyone strolling through the woods or fields during hunting season is vulnerable and should be wearing blaze orange to reduce that risk.
Without blaze orange to clearly identify them, people and domestic animals may look like a target to a far-away hunter. For example, Slings reports an incident during deer season in 2010 that involved a hunter wearing a “sandwich-board” style orange vest, just like we talked about in the video. The vest covers only the chest and back, leaving the sides exposed. The victim in this case was hunting in brown coveralls, and as he walked through the standing unpicked cornfield one of his hunting companions saw what he thought was a deer walking down the rows of corn. The observing hunter couldn’t see the blaze orange due to the exposed sides. Where things went wrong is when the shooter shot his 12 gauge toward what he thought was the deer, striking the victim in the upper leg.
Tragedies like that remind us to take precautions and wear blaze orange because it can save a life. This alone should be reason enough to always wear orange when in the woods during hunting season.
But what about the hunter whose main goal is to take an animal? Will hunter orange limit their chances of success? Many hunters are concerned orange will spook game such as the white-tailed deer.
Research says blaze orange won’t give you away when deer hunting—the deer can’t see it.
“While research has confirmed that deer are not colorblind, they don’t perceive colors the same way as humans. In particular, deer lack the ability to see long wavelength colors such as red and orange,” said Brian Murphy, wildlife biologist and CEO of the Quality Deer Management Association. “This means they cannot distinguish orange from other long wavelength colors such as green or red. In contrast, deer see short wavelength colors better than humans, especially the blues. Therefore, hunters would be more disadvantaged wearing blue jeans than blaze orange while hunting.”
If you are concerned about being detected by deer, you should consider other factors such as tree stand position, breaking up your outline, and scent control. Deer senses are far better tuned for spotting motion, seeing outlined figures and identifying scent than seeing blaze orange.
Given that blaze orange is highly unlikely to scare deer away, there is no good reason for hunters to not wear blaze orange, even if it’s not required. Wearing blaze orange ensures that other hunters will know you are a human, not a game animal, and something they shouldn’t shoot at.
Wearing blaze orange is one important strategy for staying safe. Learn about more ways to stay safe while hunting with the hunter safety courses at www.hunter-ed.com.
Courses include more videos and lessons about tree stand safety, safe zones of fire, ballistics, plus much more to improve your safety in the field. All material is the same as is taught in formal hunting education classes and is approved by state agencies in 40 states.
You know how to handle your firearm in the field and at the shooting range, but are you ready for waterfowl season?
Transporting your firearms by boat comes with some extra precautions.
- File a float plan. Adding water into the hunting mix means extra dangers. Make sure someone you trust knows where you are going and when you plan to be back.
- Wear a life jacket. In the excitement, your boat may tip or swamp. Wearing a life jacket means you won’t have to worry if you get a little wet. Remember, a personal flotation device doesn’t have to be bulky and orange: inflatable life jackets are now available—yes, even with camouflage designs!
- Load your gear with caution. If you’re with a partner, have that person get into the boat so you can hand the gear in. If you’re hunting alone, place all your gear into the boat while you’re still at the dock and on steady ground.
- Balance your gear. Evenly distribute gear from bow to stern (front to back) and port to starboard (left to right) so the boat isn’t likely to tip. Use a boat that can handle the weight of you, your partner, your dog, and all your gear!
Get ready for all your hunting trips with the video below:
Learn more about how to transport firearms here.
Which of these steps is hardest to remember? What do you do to ensure you stay safe?
In addition to following the 4 Essential Rules of Firearm Safety, remember these few simple guidelines to stay safe.
- After checking—and double-checking—that the firearm is unloaded, pack it in a secure case before loading it into your vehicle. Pack the ammunition separately.
- Store your gun in the back; you won’t need it until you arrive at your hunting location.
- When you arrive, uncase your firearms. Wait to load your ammunition until you are away from the vehicle and ready to start your hunt.
- Rest or go slowly to avoid careless mistakes that can happen when you’re overtired.
- When crossing obstacles like streams or fences, unload your firearms and open the action so that you can move safely.
- At the end of the hunt, unload firearms before approaching the vehicle, being sure to face away from others and point your muzzle in a safe direction. Check the safety and remove the ammunition before casing your firearm once again.
Watch this video below for more detail on the best ways to get to and from your hunt safely.
Save your worries for finding the best game by transporting your firearms safely, both to and from your hunt.
Remember: Always load your brain before your load your gun. (In other words, keep your mind on what you are doing.).
What tips do you recommend for transporting your firearms?
The History of Using AR Rifles for Hunting
The history of hunting firearms in the United States has been tied to technology developed for our military since the Civil War. Prior to that, our armed citizens used their hunting rifles and muskets to fight when they joined the militia! But with the introduction of Spencer and Henry lever-action rifles during the 1860s, the stage was set for “military” rifles to become the new hunting guns because that’s where the newest technology was applied. That was particularly true of the Mauser and 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles developed for World War I. Bolt-actions became the standard hunting rifle because of their inherent accuracy — and partially because the .30-06 cartridge is still one of the most useful all-around hunting rounds in the world.
So, it should be no surprise that the AR-15/AR-10 platform rifles (also known as Modern Sporting Rifles or MSRs) have become the top-selling rifles in the United States over the past 10-15 years. Our modern soldiers are most familiar with them from their service, and that’s what they want to use for their sporting pursuits, too. Now, many people are using them for everything from varmint hunting to big game hunting. You can find tons of information about the best AR-10 rifle for hunting — or even for deer hunting — and about which caliber is best for hunting with an AR-15. However, we couldn’t find any information about the unique differences of hunting with an AR vs. hunting with a bolt-action or lever-action rifle. But there are some mechanical differences, obviously, and some differences in effectively using an MSR for hunting.
Hunting With AR/MSR Rifles
We created this infographic as a handy guide to help you remember a few things that can make you effective and safe while hunting with an AR this year. You can use it to teach your kids, and you can even print it and laminate it for use as a checklist each day when you head into the field. AR/MSR rifles are going to become more and more common in the woods and fields in the coming years because they can be customized for every type of hunting and shooting, and they’re fun and effective. Just make sure you keep these AR hunting tips in mind. Good hunting!