With Minnesota’s small game hunting season underway, conservation officers (CO) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report some hunters not wearing required blaze orange clothing.
“The blaze orange requirement is for safety,” said CO Marty Stage of Ely. “One hunter said that he wasn’t very far from his home, to excuse him from needing blaze orange.”
Making a blaze orange fashion statement this fall might not get you on the best-dressed list, but it just might save your life.
“Wearing blaze orange clothing is a safety requirement to hunt or trap during Minnesota’s small game season or firearms deer season,” said Jon Paurus, DNR enforcement education program coordinator. “It’s important to be seen by others.”
Small game seasons: At least one visible article of clothing above the waist must be blaze orange when taking small game, except when hunting migratory birds from a blind or on the water, wild turkeys, raccoons or predators, when hunting by falconry, when trapping (outside deer seasons) or when hunting deer by archery while stationary.
Deer season: The visible portion of at least one item of a cap and one item of outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, must be blaze orange when hunting or trapping during any open season where deer may be taken by firearms (including special hunts, early antlerless, youth seasons and muzzleloader). Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot.
“The failure to wear to wear blaze orange puts a hunter in jeopardy of not being seen by someone who does not take the time to properly identify their target and what’s beyond it,” Paurus said.
Paurus recommends faded blaze orange garments be replaced.
“Blaze orange clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover or woods,” Paurus said. “Any hunter who has ever identified someone strictly by seeing blaze orange knows its value in keeping track of other hunters in the field, especially in low light conditions.”
For those who use ground blinds, Paurus said to remember to place some blaze orange on the outside of the blind for others to see.
Some safety tips for non-hunters:
- Wear bright clothing. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or green, and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. Blaze orange vests and hats are advisable.
- Be courteous. Don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid confrontations.
- Know the dates of hunting seasons. Learn about where and when hunting is taking place.