Why wearing blaze orange gear during hunting season could save your life

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FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, Duane Townsend, left, shoots a pheasant at Special Friday Pheasant Hunts, sponsored by Southern Tulare County Sportsman’s Association, at Lake Success Recreation Area in Porterville, Calif. A Utah man who has been in a wheelchair for more than three decades has created a pheasant hunt for people like him who need help getting into the outdoors. The Daily Herald in Provo reports that Clint Robinson broke his neck after being thrown off a horse at a rodeo 32 years ago. The event called “Wheelchairs in the Wild” pairs people that have physical disabilities with hunters who help them with whatever they need. Many go in off-road vehicles. (Chieko Hara/The Porterville Recorder via AP, File)

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hunting season is underway, but before you head outdoors be sure to wear blaze orange gear, it could save your life.

Blaze orange or safety orange is what all hunters and hikers should wear for visibility purposes, especially as the days get darker earlier. Wearing blaze orange could save your life and allow others to see you clearly because it is fluorescent even in dim light.

According to Mass.gov “the widespread use of blaze orange has helped dramatically reduce hunting-related firearms incidents in the field. While hunters are required to wear blaze orange during certain seasons, all outdoor users who are in the woods during hunting seasons should wear blaze orange clothing as a precaution.”

In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) advises hunters to wear fluorescent orange or blaze orange to make sure they are more visible and prevent other hunters from mistaking them for an animal, or shooting in their direction.

“Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot. Wearing fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink while afield and ensuring it is visible from all directions greatly decreases your risk of being mistaken for game,” said DEC.

Mass.Gov’s Tips for non-hunters:

  • “Know when and where hunting is allowed. Review the 2021 Massachusetts hunting season dates. Hunting on Sunday is not permitted in Massachusetts. MassWildlife lands, including Wildlife Management Areas and Wildlife Conservation Easements are open to hunting. Most state parks and forests are open to hunting, and many towns allow hunting on municipal lands.” 
  • Learn about lands open to hunting in Massachusetts. Research the property you plan to visit beforehand to learn if hunting is allowed. If being in the woods during hunting season makes you uneasy, find a location where hunting is not allowed or plan your outing for a Sunday or another day outside of hunting season.”
  • “Keep pets leashed and visible. Place a blaze orange vest or bandana on your pet to keep it visible.”
  • “Make your presence known. Talk loudly or whistle to identify yourself as a person. You may also consider wearing a bell. If you see someone hunting or hear shots, call out to them to identify your location.”
  • “Be courteous. Once you’ve made your presence known, don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife or hunting. Hunter harassment is against state law. Avoid confrontations with hunters. If you think you’ve witnessed a fish or wildlife violation, report it to the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.”

MassGov’s Tips for hunters:

  • “Wearing blaze orange is a legal requirement during some hunting seasons.”
  • “All hunters during shotgun deer season and deer hunters during the primitive firearms season must wear at least 500 square inches of blaze orange material on their chest, back, and head. (Exception: coastal waterfowl hunters in a blind or boat.)”
  • “All hunters on Wildlife Management Areas during the pheasant or quail season on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked must wear a blaze orange cap or hat. (Exception: waterfowl hunters in a blind or boat, and raccoon and opossum hunters at night.)”
  • “Some hunters may worry that wearing blaze orange will hurt their chances of harvesting an animal. While deer are not colorblind, they lack the ability to detect colors like red and orange from green and brown. Wearing blaze orange will not matter to the deer, but may save your life.”

These tips also apply to hunter in New York. More hunter safety basics for those in New York, can be found on the DEC website.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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