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Clothing also can affect your ability to perform safely and responsibly. Select clothing based on the weather you expect, while being prepared for the worst.

In warm weather, wear a hat and light clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible to prevent heat exhaustion or sunburn.

Cold weather conditions call for clothing that is worn in layers. Layers offer superior insulation. Also, as weather warms up, you can shed a layer at a time to stay comfortable. Layers should include:

  • A vapor transmission layer (material such as polypropylene)—worn next to the body; it should release moisture from the skin while retaining warmth.
  • An insulating layer—weightier or bulkier; it should hold warm air around you.
  • A protective outer layer—available in various weights and materials according to conditions; it should protect the inner layers from water and wind.

The most important clothing choices are a daylight fluorescent orange hat and daylight fluorescent orange outerwear—a shirt, vest, or jacket. Daylight fluorescent orange clothing makes it easier for one hunter to spot and recognize another hunter because nothing in nature matches this color. The orange color of the clothing should be plainly visible from all directions. This is required by law in many states.

Hunter wearing layered clothing

Effectiveness of Blaze Orange

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Video Transcript
Haley

Hey. You found my secret spot. Looks good, right? We’ve got the whole place to ourselves.

The cameraman hands Haley a binocular.

Haley

What?

The cameraman points toward the tree line.

Haley

What? What is that?

She looks through the binoculars and sees a man in camouflage.

Haley

That’s definitely not a safe way to dress. I can barely see him in there.

The cameraman taps Haley on the shoulder and tugs at the hood of her orange sweatshirt.

Haley

What? Oh, you’re right. He should be wearing blaze orange.

On screen: BLAZE ORANGE: Safety Orange. Intense fluorescent orange color with high visibility even in dim light. A graph shows blaze orange’s location on the electromagnetic spectrum of visible light.

Haley

Hello! Hunter—over here. Do you have any blaze orange? We can’t see you very well.

Voiceover

Spotting a hunter wearing all camo is hard. Try it yourself with the following clips. You have 5 seconds for each image.

On screen, five seconds tick by in each of two scenes before an almost-invisible hunter in camouflage reveals himself by putting on a blaze orange shirt and hat. At the end of the third five-second clip, three hunters are revealed.

The hunter Haley spotted puts on his own blaze orange.

Haley

There we go. Thank you. We can see you much better now. Safe hunting. Wow. That could have been a really bad situation. He’s lucky we saw him. Well, obviously, we can’t hunt in this direction. So let’s check it out over here.

Haley looks through her binocular.

Haley

What? What is going on here?

We see a blaze orange hat and vest against a grassy hill in the distance.

Haley

Whoa, that is crazy. Can you tell if that is one person or two? OK, I see what’s going on—there are two people out there, but they don’t have enough blaze orange on. What is the deal? It’s like we’re the blaze orange police today. Hello? Fellas? Do you have any more blaze orange?

One of the hunters adds a blaze orange vest.

Haley

Thank you. Safe hunting. OK, so one of the reasons we wear blaze orange is so that other hunters can clearly see us as other hunters. But not all patterns and fabrics are created equal. So how would you dress if you were hunting?

On screen: BLAZE ORANGE COMPARISONS

Haley

Any old orange shirt? Hat only? Orange vest? Full, bright blaze orange top and hat? Blaze orange camo? A blaze orange blazer?

On screen, a cursor selects the blazer.

Haley

Blazer? Really? Well, it may be the most stylish option, but you’re probably better off saving the blazer for after the hunt. Try another one. Now that you’ve made your choice, watch what happens as the hunter goes deeper into the woods.

The screen splits, and we watch all five hunters walk farther into the trees wearing their blaze orange. By a 30-foot distance, the regular orange shirt and orange hat only are almost invisible. At 55 feet, only the blaze orange top and hat selection is still noticeable.

Haley

Clearly, a full blaze orange top and hat is the most visible. You made your choice—was this what you picked? Remember, wearing blaze orange is to keep you safe. In fact, many hunting accidents happen when the victim doesn’t have enough blaze orange on. One more thing to note—you might think a blaze orange vest on its own is enough. But take a look at these different orange vests.

On screen, five different orange vests or jackets provide a variety of visibility.

Haley

Notice, for instance, the hunter on the far left who’s standing sideways in his vest? Now, how well can you see each of these as they move back into the forest? Once again, you can simply see the more blaze orange you wear, the more visible you are in the forest. OK, so obviously, my secret spot is not such a secret anymore. But wearing blaze orange is going to keep us safe, and it’s going to keep us visible while we find another, less-crowded spot.

Other Clothing Essentials

  • A hat or cap with earflaps and gloves to retain body heat—most body heat is lost through the head and hands; gloves also protect your hands from abrasions and rope burns
  • Footwear that is sturdy, suitable for the conditions you’ll encounter, and broken in before the hunt
  • Two layers of socks—polypropylene against the skin and a wool outer layer