Deer Trails 7: Feel safer, be safer with blaze orange

By JERRY DAVIS

 Clothing colors worn by deer hunters has a history of successes, and a few failures. In addition, some rules are regularly disregarded, such as wearing a cap that isn't at least partially blaze orange.
 In 1945, red clothing was deemed required outerwear for gun deer hunters. While the clothing need not be solid-color, at least 50 percent had to be red on all items above the waist, including the cap. Caps need not be worn, but if worn were to be red.
 Blaze orange clothing (also known by other names) was introduced as a substitute in 1951 and then replaced red entirely in 1980.
 Other hunters are sometimes required to wear blaze orange, too, including anyone hunting (waterfowlers are exempt) small game, turkey, pheasant, squirrels, rabbits, and archers if there is any gun deer season in progress in that part of the state. That would include a pheasant hunter during the gun deer season and even an archer or crossbower.
 There are several special deer seasons throughout autumn, too, which require other hunters to wear blaze orange. The state-wide, two-day youth deer hunt is one such activity.
 Hikers, bikers, runners, pets, farmers and woodland workers often wear some blaze orange or bright clothing, even though they are not required to do so. Orange is strongly advised, but not required, in state parks, state forests and other public lands during recreation. Another color, fluorescent pink, has been approved as an alternate to blaze orange, although some still believe it is a poor substitute color.
 Deer hunters using blinds must have a 144-inch square of solid blaze orange or fluorescent pink material visible outside their blinds from all directions. The persons hunting and inside the blind must be wearing blaze orange, too.
 Those not hunting, but recreating outside, commonly purchase vests instead of heavier outer clothing to save money while purchasing an article they wear infrequently.
 While snow cover greatly increases visibility of hunters, recreationists and animals, it does not lessen the need for wearing highly visible clothing. That’s where the phrases sighting and safety snow come into play and have pretty much replaced “tracking snow.”

 Season Snippet: In 1947, surveys of deer damage to forest reproduction areas was begun.

 Jerry Davis writes daily Deer Trails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the seventh column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.