Outdoors

Hunter orange clothing works in more ways than one

Frank Moran poses with the deer he killed while hunting in Eastern Montana.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Frank Moran poses with the deer he killed while hunting in Eastern Montana. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

HUNTER SAFETY — Wearing fluorescent orange clothing already was a requirement for hunters in Montana when I passed my hunter education course and bought my first hunting license in the 1960s.

I know some guys think only scaredy cats wear hunter orange, especially in Idaho and Oregon, where sportsmen don't have the courage to enact minimum hunter orange requirements for modern firearms seasons.

Although Idaho's statewide hunting accident rate is low, more than 70 percent of recorded incidents are caused by hunters mistaking other hunters for game animals.

Hunter orange clothing requirements virtually eliminate mistaken for game shooting accidents.

And the impact on modern-firearms big-game hunting is nil, something that was confirmed to me again last week as I sat on a stand during the late whitetail buck hunt.

I was wearing a fluorescent orange fleece jacket with a camouflage pattern. A whitetail doe came out of the woods and angled through a slight opening in the woods to within 25 yards just upwind of where I sat leaning against a tree. At one point she looked right at me before twitching her tail, nibbling the brush and taking her sweet time walking on past.

I've lost track of how many times I've had the same experience with deer, elk and antelope.

Hunters who can hold still and take advantage of the wind have nothing to fear from hunter orange clothing, but a lot of life to gain if a foolish hunter is in the area.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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