Why Do Hunters Wear Orange?

October 27, 2021 4 min read

hunter walking

What you wear during your hunting trip plays an essential role in your comfort and safety. In addition to sturdy boots and camo-patterned apparel, most hunters wear a blaze orange hunting vest or jacket and a hat. Many novice hunters question the necessity of bright orange hunting gear. The answer is primarily to do with improving safety and visibility in the field. Without bright orange hunting apparel, you may be breaking local hunting laws and leaving yourself vulnerable to accidental firearm injury. However, many hunters mistakenly believe that blaze orange can spook deer and other prey, making them less likely to approach and more challenging to take a kill shot. Discover why hunters wear blaze orange and how you can improve your concealment and safety in the field. 

The Truth About Deer Vision

Successfully hunting deer means learning about deer biology and behavior,from understanding why deer travel the same path everyday to discovering how deer respond to different colors and patterns. Deer eyes do not see colors the same way human eyes do. Human vision is trichromatic: We can see reds, blues, greens and colors in between. Deer vision is dichromatic. While deer can discern blues very well, they cannot distinguish between green and red, both of which appear grayish-yellow. Blaze orange appears brownish-yellow, so it blends into a deer’s natural environment.

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hunter outside of a hunting blind

Why Orange Enhances Safety

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), hunters who wearblaze orange clothing and accessories are seven times less likely to be shot by fellow hunters than those who don’t. Although hunting accidents are rare, typical deer hunting rifles are chambered in full-powered cartridges such as .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, .270 Winchester or 6.5mm Creedmoor. This ammunition usually comes tipped with expanding projectiles, such as soft points (SP) or hollow points (HP), enhancing their effectiveness and lethality.

Unfortunately, the same attributes that make a deer hunting rifle so efficient at bringing a deer down also make fatalities on human beings more likely. Although hunting accidents are uncommon (astudy covering 15 years of data estimated that 1.95% of all firearm-related injuries in the United States were related to hunting), they can be potentially fatal. Not wearing safety orange gear above the waist puts you at risk of being mistaken for a deer by another hunter 100 yards away or more, who may then fire a high-velocity expanding bullet in your direction.

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The Legal Aspects of Blaze Orange Attire

In addition to the deer biology and safety factors, blaze orange is a legal requirement for hunters in 42 states and is strongly encouraged in the remaining eight. State law may refer to this color under many other names, such as Fluorescent Orange, Safety Orange, Hunter Orange or International Orange. Most states that legally require hunters to wear blaze orange may impose one of two types of minimum requirements: clothing types and surface area coverage.

  • Virtually every state with legislation by clothing types requires hunters to wear hats, coats, vests, upper body clothes or any garment above the waist in blaze orange.
  • States imposing minimum surface area requirements list a legal minimum number of square inches of blaze orange that a hunter must wear, ranging between 144 and 500 cubic inches.

Some examples of blaze orange state legislations include:

  • Requirements by clothing type only: In Kentucky,all hunters and accompanying persons (except waterfowl and turkey hunters) must wear blaze orange outer garments visible on all sides of the head, chest and back.

Improve Your Camouflage with GhostBlinds

If you are concerned about your visibility to prey while wearing blaze orange hunting clothes, you canenhance your concealment with hunting ground blinds from Shadow Hunter Blinds. GhostBlinds offer portable concealment using mirrored panels to reflect the surrounding environment, giving you custom camouflage without the need for brushing in. The panels feature narrow apertures allowing you to aim accurately, and the mirrors reflect the light down to the ground, ensuring your prey isn’t spooked by their reflection. 

Hunt Like the Pros with Shadow Hunter Blinds

A successful hunter is first and foremost a safe hunter who is well aware of the laws and all applicable safety regulations. At Shadow Hunter Blinds, we offer innovative hunting blinds made for and approved by the world’s top professional hunters to improve your concealment and safety out in the field. Browse our selection of top-quality hunting blinds engineered to provide the highest degree of safety and comfort.