Bob Harris - OUTDOORS and FREE - November 25, 2011
- THE FACTS ABOUT HUNTER ORANGE -
In last week’s column, Must Use Common Sense When Deer Hunting, I mentioned the necessity of wearing clothing of Hunter Orange color and that doing so would not spook deer. A reader e-mailed me stating that my theory of wearing hunter orange while deer hunting was false and that deer are spooked if seeing that color. He may not want to admit it, but he is the one who is wrong.
Chris Saunders, Vermont Hunter Education Coordinator, says, “In a review of 20 years of Vermont hunting-related shooting reports, 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 our state’s hunting accidents. Both types involve visibility problems and both underscore the need for hunters to see and be seen during the fall firearms deer season.”
Nationwide, data supports this. For instance, a New York study found that 94 percent of hunters involved in mistaken for game accidents were not wearing hunter orange. This statistic is even more startling when you consider that 81 percent of New York hunters do wear hunter orange.
“Concerns that deer are scared by hunter orange are totally unfounded,” Mr. Saunders said. “Recent research suggests that deer do see color, but they have no red-sensitive cone cells, so they can’t tell red or orange from green and brown. In addition, deer have a different sensitivity to various wavelengths of light. They see short wavelength colors, such as blue, brighter than humans do, but are less sensitive to longer wavelengths, such as orange and red, so these colors look darker.”
Mr. Saunders continued, “Fluorescent colors like hunter orange look bright to humans because they absorb UV rays we can’t see and turn them into wavelengths we can see. The effect is opposite on deer. Hunter orange reflects less UV that deer see well and more of the rays that deer don’t see as well. Regardless of how well they see it, ample anecdotal evidence suggests that deer are not bothered by it. Yearly deer harvests in many states that require the wearing of hunter orange clothing items, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, exceed several hundred thousand deer a year.”
So my friends, remember that hunting is very safe, but it could be even safer if all hunters wore a hunter orange vest, jacket and hat. You don’t want to be the only hunter in the woods without it.
Bob Harris can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com