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For Deer Hunting, is Blaze Orange Really Necessary?

Can Deer See Blaze Orange?

Dan,

As a deer hunter who (by my guesstimate) has hunted many states for whitetails, would you consider the mandatory wearing of blaze orange for big game rifle hunters a hindrance towards hunters? My state of Louisiana does have such, but there are 9 states which do not. I do hunt one of those 9, and the answer I receive from those hunters from that state is that they feel it is a burden and an un-needed requirement.  I was hoping to get some input of your thought on this matter.

— Jon Clark, Bossier City, Louisiana

Thanks for the note, Jon. Great question you pose.

I have hunted whitetails in 20 states and 4 Canadian provinces and have found that blaze-orange is not a detriment whatsoever to being seen by a deer. Whitetails, in fact, are essentially color blind in that end of the light spectrum.True, they can view it as one block of color (probably grayish to them), but they do not see it as the gaudy orange like we see it.

The key to not being seen by a deer is whether your garments have been UV treated. UV-treated clothing will glow “blue” in a deer’s eyes, making a hunter more visible (doesn’t matter if the material is camouflaged). So, to answer your question, I wholeheartedly agree with blaze-orange requirements for gun-hunting.

The final analysis? Wear blaze orange. Deer can’t see it, and it makes us all safer.

For contributing his question to this week’s Whitetail Wisdom blog, Jon receives a copy of our new 2015 Daily Calendar. Send your questions my way, and you, too, could win calendars if you are featured in this blog. If you want either calendar in advance, we have them in our store right now:

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3 thoughts on “For Deer Hunting, is Blaze Orange Really Necessary?

  1. VAWhiteTailHunter76

    I would slightly disagree with the author….I think the solid block of color is detrimental when hunting. I normally try to wear some type of blaze camo. The visibility is still there for humans, and there is no solid block of color, whether it be blue or gray, for the deer to pickup your outline. Years ago, I was starting down a ridge one day when I spooked some deer. I decided to sit down at the base of a big oak and wait, as the deer were snorting at me….guess they hadn’t seen me….just heard me. After about 15-20 minutes, a big doe came up the ridge to investigate. I sat perfectly still in my orange camo coveralls and lowered my head. There was absolutely nothing between her and me but air….no trees, no brush. She passed by me at about 15-yds and never knew I was there. That’s when I became a firm believer in orange camo and the fact that the color ORANGE was not a giveaway and deer couldn’t see it. Unfortunately, most states do not recognize orange camo as meeting the requirement of their regulations, so you have to wear at a minimum an orange hat or tobaggan. Don’t see why they can spec a minimum percent of orange that the camo must contain. My guess is you could probably go as high as 75% or more on the orange and still have a good breakup pattern.

  2. cowboystl1

    well i have had people walk dang near to my stand while wearing orange actually had to shout at one or two fellows i feel safer wearing it and glad its law hear especially when some rifles shoot way out and you might have a guy on the other end of a field if he is wearing camo you could be sending hot lead right at him

    1. tlamanec

      Blaze orange is recommended in New York State but is not mandatory and that’s how it should be. We have the safest hunting record of any state despite the highest hunter density. I usually wear a blaze orange hat. It may be the uv brighteners but large blaze orange areas do spook deer. One of the most ridiculous things is watching hunting shows with the hunter in blaze orange and the guide in camo. Anti hunters are the biggest proponents of blaze orange for hunters because it makes them feel safer when they should be the ones wearing it if they want to be safer.

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