Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Camo what does it mean for safety?

The Gore company has developed a new camo that appears to make you invisible to deer and to hunters. Check it out at the Science of Nothing or Skip to the 2nd and 3rd videos. It is pretty amazing.
The question it raises to me, being the old hunter ed instructor, is what does this mean for hunter safety. We are already seeing a rise in mistaken for game shootings during bow season with the current generation of camo. Also, Vermont has no orange law during rifle season, and more folks wear camo than Darwin's survival of the fittest should allow for. Once this new generation of digital camo gets out there it will become very difficult to "be sure of your target and beyond" no matter how conscientious and safety minded you are.
Seems to me it is time to get ahead of this increasing problem and require orange during deer rifle season and while small game hunting. Coupled with this should be experiential training during basic hunter education class and outreach/advanced training for seasoned hunters, covering defensive hunting It could be easily blended in with the Successful Hunting seminars that have been piloted by myself, Orion and VT Hunter Ed in Stowe and Putney.


  1. I have been teaching bow hunter education for the Minnesota DNR for 15 years and bow hunting for 20. The main point has always been target identification. Most of the hunting accidents I have seen the reports on that involve a hunter being shot involve very poor target identification. In Minnesota there seems to be more hunters with orange on shot than camo.
    The focus of the beginning hunter education programs needs to be changed to one of enjoying the outdoors not killing the trophy buck. Our sport has been taken over buy salesman. And results sell product. We have become so production orientated that we can not let go when it comes to leisure time pursuits. We feel the need to come back to work on Monday morning with pictures of our weekend accomplishments. If we can ratchet down the competition then I believe the safety will increase.

  2. MN instructor,
    Thanks to you and 70,000 other volunteers hunting is very safe. I fully agree you need to be 100% sure of your target and beyond before touching the trigger or release.
    We have seen an increase in failure to properly ID your target for both firearms and bow hunting in the last 5 years. The numbers are low but disturbing and tragic. Better camo, fiber optic sights all are contributing. I agree the industry and trophy boosters are not helping.
    The research in NY state is very clear that during rifle deer season you are 9 times safer wearing orange than not.
    Check out the optifade web site and see what you think. Can you really be sure of what is beyond your target? It's looking pretty tough to me...

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