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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