Take the poll to the right and give us your reasons in the comment section. In talking to folks at the Yankee Classic I was supprised at who was for it and who was opposed. I'd love to hear what you think...
From the Rutland Herald
It's time for Vt. hunters to see orange
Dennis Jensen Staff Writer - Published: January 17, 2010
A heavy fog drifted in that morning. It was midway through the firearms deer season in 2006 and I was running a bit late. I quietly made my way through a stand of 20-year-old pine trees And low, thick brush when I detected movement, about 50 yards away.
I stopped and studied the figure. It took a few moments before the object materialized into a man — a man dressed head to toe in camouflage clothing.
I never lifted my rifle to look through the scope. My policy is, unless I can clearly see a deer with my own vision, I won't raise my rifle and risk making the mistake of a lifetime.
I was stunned. He was facing away from me and moving slowly, as if he was stalking a deer. He never saw me, despite the fact that I was wearing a blaze orange hat and vest. I watched him walk away, then made my way to a ground blind in a thick section of woods some 50 yards away.
Perhaps three hours later that morning, the same hunter found his way back to my ground blind. My blaze orange cap, hanging from a nearby limb, gave me away.
I recognized the young man as a nearby resident. We talked for a few minutes and then he was on his way. I sat there stunned, once more. Even his boots were camouflaged.
That image, on that morning, stays fresh in my mind because, to this deer hunter, wearing camouflage clothing during the firearms deer season is not merely a poor decision — it could cost you your life.
I'll take that step farther: Going into the deer woods — or hunting moose, bear or small game, for that matter — without wearing a blaze orange cap and vest could cost you your life.
Here's why: I understand the point of view of some Vermonters who say they don't need to wear a blaze orange (also called hunter orange) hat or vest or both items. From their standpoint, they are safety minded to the point that they would never shoot another human. At least that is what they say.
Even assuming that that is true, why would anyone assume that everyone else in the woods is as safety-minded as you are? The fact is, where the wrong people are concerned, the woods can be a very dangerous place.
Every year, hunters are mistaken for game and shot: some are peppered with bird shot; some are seriously wounded by rifle fire; others are fatalities, carried out of the woods.
No one is immune from hunting mishaps. Even folks wearing blaze orange are occasionally shot. But, the data is in and it is irrefutable: Almost half of Vermont's hunting-related shootings might be prevented if hunters wore hunter orange, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
While 40 states require hunters to wear at least some blaze orange, Vermont does not.
Maine requires deer hunters to wear a blaze orange hat and vest; New York and New Hampshire have no blaze orange law.
Chris Saunders, the hunter education coordinator for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, said the department is clear about its position on wearing blaze-orange clothing while hunting deer, bear, moose, "basically everything but waterfowl hunting, turkey hunting and bow hunting.
"We absolutely, strongly recommend that all hunters, during the firearm deer season, wear at least a blaze orange hat and vest in the field," he said.
Wayne Jones, the sportsman education administrator with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, said that hunters wearing blaze orange clothing are far safer in the woods than those who do not.
Over the past 10 years, more than 20 people were killed when they were mistaken for deer or bear and only one was wearing blaze orange, he said.
"A person with no orange is 12.4 times more likely to be shot than a person who is wearing hunter orange," Jones said.
Vermont had three hunting fatalities in 2005, a staggering statistic for a state with about 80,000 licensed big-game hunters. Those deaths sadly illustrated how "mistakes" are made during deer season as well as in bear, moose, turkey, small game and other seasons.
The two fatalities that occurred during the 2005 firearms deer season might have been avoided if blaze orange had been worn by the victims.
Every year, it seems, a member of the Vermont Legislature comes up with a blaze orange bill. And every year, the bill is dropped like a buck shot in the spine.
Most Statehouse legislators develop a form of "political paralysis" when it comes to any proposal that involves the Vermont deer season.
In truth, they have little or no idea just how popular or unpopular a blaze orange bill might be.
But they are savvy enough to know that taking on any issue involving deer hunting can be politically dangerous. In the end, they would rather ignore an issue that would clearly save lives than invoke the wrath of the few and the loud.
Like plenty of Vermonters, I don't like having Big Brother telling me what I can and cannot do. But there are times — and this is one of them — when a life-saving law is in the public interest.
It's time Vermont caught up with 40 other states in this country. A blaze orange law would save lives. That's good enough for me.