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How Much Orange Do You Need To Wear When Hunting?



Do you know that wearing hunter orange is not required by the New York State laws, but almost 80% of reputed hunters, including three out of four small game hunters, prefer wearing hunter orange?

If you are a hunter, you must know that the fundamental reason for wearing hunter orange is safety! The safety comes not from the inability of deer to distinguish the color. But unlike deer, many hunters hunting in the same location as of yours can clearly see you in hunter orange. For this very reason, wearing a hunter blaze orange is important for your own safety or to avoid being shot.

The Reasons Why Hunters Wear Orange

Well, the foremost reason why hunters wear blaze orange or hunter orange is that they must abide by the state laws. However, the reason why some hunters don’t prefer to wear hunter orange is that they don’t believe it can help them in camouflaging or they don’t find it a cool hunter outfit.

The State Laws To Wear Hunter Orange

Different states in the USA have different laws for hunter orange. However, the IHEA-USA reaffirms that hunter orange is one of the most recommended color for hunters to prevent various hunting incidents in the field. So far, there is no nationally recognized established study or even verified standards in terms of luminance, wavelength or excitation purity, necessary for the visibility of any other color than hunter orange by human observers in natural environments.

However, if we look at some standard and precise measurements, then hunter orange must have a dominant wavelength ranging between 590 and 600 nanometers. The hunter orange must have luminance factor not lower than 40% and with that, excitation purity of not less than 85%.

Furthermore, no quantitative or qualitative research is conducted to standardize the positive or negative influence of safety color choice of a hunter on the retention, recruitment or reactivation of existing or new hunters. That is why IHEA-USA suggests that the safety color for hunters must be established on the basis of visibility and detect-ability solely. Also, this should be established by considering the color visibility by human observers in a natural environment.

Legal Requirements To Wear Hunter Orange

You must know that wearing hunter orange is indeed a legal requirement considering some hunting seasons.

For instance,

  • Every hunter during the season of shotgun deer hunting and during primitive firearm season, is required to wear almost 500 square inches of blaze orange. They must wear it on back, chest, and head. However, hunters (coastal waterfowl) hunting in a boat or within a blind are exempted from this legal requirement.
  • Every hunter, during the quail and pheasant season, on Wildlife Management Areas, and where quail and pheasant are stocked, is required to wear an orange hat or cap. However, there is an exception for waterfowl hunter and opossum and raccoon hunters, hunting in a boat, within a blind and at night.

Some states also define the amount of hunter orange that must be included in the hunter’s outfit. For instance, the jacket’s front has to be 700 sq. inches and same goes for the back. Moreover, sleeves have to be 200 square inches both at the front and back. This makes a total of 1800 square inches of sleeves considering both front and back.

Different states have different combinations in terms of areas or percentage, or if the safety orange must be solid. For instance, in the states of Arizona and California, hunters are strongly encouraged to use hunter orange as part of their overall outfit.

The Impact Of Hunter Orange On Hunting

While wearing blaze orange may keep you hidden in the eyes of animals, it is also imperative for your life’s safety. Hunter orange protects you from other hunters. If not, other hunters may mistake you with an animal in the dark field. Eventually, they may shoot in your direction, putting your life at risk.

Do you know that hunters who wear hunter orange in the natural environment are six times less likely to get shot?

To give you an example in the past one decade in New York, there is not even a single hunter who has been shot mistakenly while wearing hunter orange. On the contrary, all the hunters, in fact, big game hunters, who were reported in the incidents related to firearms were not found wearing hunter orange.

Nonetheless, hunter orange is for your own safety. It gives you a better deer hunting experience and it saves your life in the most unexpected firearm incidents.


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