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Blaze orange reduces hunting accidents (10/15/2003)
Wearing a cap, vest, or coat of blaze orange will not get you on the best-dressed list, but it just might save your life.

"Wearing blaze orange clothing is a requirement to hunt or trap during Minnesota's small game season or deer season," said Mike Hamm, DNR Enforcement Chief. "Failure to wear blaze orange is among the major causes of accidents and hunting fatalities."

A person may not take small game other than turkey, migratory birds, raccoons, and predators, except when hunting with nontoxic shot or while trapping, unless a visible portion of at least one article of the person's clothing above the waist is blaze orange.

Additionally, a person may not hunt or trap during the open season where deer may be taken by firearms under applicable laws and ordinances, unless the visible portion of the person's cap and outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, is blaze orange.

Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot. This restriction does not apply to migratory waterfowl hunters on waters or in a stationary shooting location, or to trappers on waters.

"Wearing protective color clothing is a requirement vigorously enforced by DNR conservation officers," Hamm said. "The failure to wear the highly visible color puts a hunter in jeopardy of being mistaken for game by someone who does not take the time to properly identify their target."

Old garments that have faded should be replaced.

"Blaze orange, more than any other color, is the most easily seen and recognized bright, unnatural color against a natural background," Hamm said. "This shade of orange is the only satisfactory color for hunters to wear under all weather and light conditions. The color of the cap, vest, or coat should be plainly visible from all sides while it is being worn."

From the standpoint of hunter safety, the wearing of this high-visibility color while deer hunting and while small game hunting in heavy cover, such as for grouse and pheasant, is a great communications tool.

"Blaze orange clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover or woods," Hamm said. "Any hunter who has ever identified someone strictly by seeing an orange patch knows its value in keeping track of other hunters in the field." 


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