Hunters and prospective hunters are wise to educate themselves about the type of clothing they are allowed to wear. The rules of a hunting wardrobe, as with other aspects of hunting, such as size limits and location, vary according to local regulations. These laws must be followed at all times to ensure the safety of all hunters.
Many areas require hunters to wear hunter orange, commonly called ‘blaze orange.’ This is a very bright, often fluorescent shade of orange that makes hunters visible to other hunters. The percentage of blaze orange that hunters need to wear varies, and may even be determined by the type of game a person is hunting. Hunter orange may need to be worn from the waist up. Some hunters may need to have hunter orange cover 50 percent of their bodies while they’re hunting. In other instances, hunters may only be required to wear one item in blaze orange. In addition, hunting blinds may need to have a certain amount of square inches covered in blaze orange material.
In New York State, 14- and 15-year-old hunters and their mentors are required to wear fluorescent hunter orange or pink visible from all directions: shirt, jacket, or vest with at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescent orange or pink (the pattern must be at least 50 percent orange or pink) or a hat with at least 50 percent fluorescent orange or pink. All other NYS hunters are not required to wear blaze orange, but the Department of Environmental Conservation highly recommends it.
Many game animals, including deer, do not have red-sensitive cones in their eyes, and cannot distinguish orange and pink from green and brown. NYS DEC, Department of Environmental Conservation, says hunters who wear blaze orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
Unfortunately, some hunters are not aware of the fact that blaze orange is hidden to deer and other game or they simply do not want to wear it. Learning more about the safety of blaze orange may help change such hunters’ minds. Hunting clothing manufacturers also are incorporating blaze orange into camouflage designs in proper ratios to combine the best of camouflage and blaze orange for style, efficacy and appearance.