When hunting together in thick country, Blaze-Orange caps make it easy to check each others' locations.

A Case for Blaze-Orange

“You know what Ithink whenever I see Blaze-Orange?” the mature-age experiencedhunter asked me when I turned up in a blaze-camo hat. “No”I replied. “Dickhead amateur” the reply came back that Iwas half expecting. I went on to patiently explain the case for Blazeand he wasn’t interested but a bit more polite, nonetheless.

Soon after this exchange, I was going away huntingfor the first time with a few rifle club mates who had kindly invitedme onto a new property and I made sure each of us was wearingblaze-orange on the hunt. One was an experienced 54 year-old hunterand the other, at 59, had never pulled the trigger on game in hislife, but being mature, they readily accepted the need for reasonablesafety precautions.

We carried rifles withbolts open and only closed them when ready to shoot. On return tovehicles and camp, we cleared each others’ rifles and watched thedirections of each others’ muzzles as we were new to each other andhad to establish mutually accepted ground rules and doing so does notlabel anyone as a “dickhead amateur”. In fact, thecontinued adoption of such practices rather denotes professionalismand is to be encouraged.

So to Blaze-Orange. Howdid it work for us?

Well, we were occasionallyseparated when occupying fox whistling stands on the edge of woodedfringe country, more often than not in deep or dappled shade. Thewhistler was off to the flank of the shooters and we needed mutualvisibility. With the Game Council Blaze-Orange caps and my StoneyCreek blaze-camo giggle hat, we had no problems seeing each other- and having peace of mind.

On a few other occasions,we stalked to the edge of a pig bedding area on a high wooded hill onthe property and then engaged in a broad extended line drive throughtheir domain, which was thickly wooded and bushy. Had we not beenwearing Blaze-Orange on our heads, we would have easily lost sight ofeach other and it would have been very easy for one shooter to get infront of another, presenting a very real hazard.

The number of deer hunterswho have been accidentally shot in recent years in New Zealandcarrying antlers from successful hunts has been too many – and theaddition of a Blaze-Orange panel or hat to their gear could well haveavoided the tragedies that played out.

As for animals picking upon the orange colour, hunters should be more worried about winddirection, because they see different spectrums of light to humansand orange just blends right in for them.

So go ahead, take theBlaze-Orange step and secure your hunting safety for the future.

Marcus O’Dean







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