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Use of Blaze Orange

Copyright © 1998 - 2002  Roger W. Raisch * Nadine Adele, all rights reserved
      

             

The suggestion has been made that turkey hunters should be required to wear blaze orange clothing like most big game and upland bird hunters are required to do in many states. I believe this should be left to the individual to decide.

 

The number of hunters being shot has grown, but so have the numbers of hunters in the field. If all hunters would use basic common sense before deciding to pull the trigger, no accidents would happen. Despite this simple solution, accidents still happen. Wearing blaze orange is often cited as the solution to this problem. Studies have shown, however, that while hunters wearing orange apparel can call in and bag gobblers, their success rates are reduced by as much as one-third. This seems unacceptable in a sport that is inherently as difficult as turkey hunting, even for hunters in full camouflage.

 

Blaze orange certainly has a place for those concerned about safety. It can be used effectively to advertise your presence when walking to and from your hunting spot, and for wrapping a dead turkey that you have to carry out of the woods on your back. Some turkey hunting vests have flaps and panels of blaze orange that can be displayed when needed, and hidden while sitting and calling.

 

Even while wearing orange, there is still plenty of danger. I'm talking about hunters who are color-blind. They may see blaze orange as a red color, exactly the color of a gobbler's head. Because of the possibility that you may be mistaken for a gobbler as you move around the woods, and for personal safety, Ballistic Vests, made with Kevlar and other high-tech materials, have been developed for turkey hunters. These vests will repel shotgun blasts, are comfortable to wear and come in many camo patterns. Some will even stop rifle/pistol bullets and broadheads.

 

Turkeys are shot by necessity at close range, mostly in situations where there is ample time to identify the target. Continued hunter education, coupled with specialized safety gear, and plenty of common sense will keep turkey hunting a safe sport.

 

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