Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blaze Orange for Bowhunters?

Moose at the Moose Droppings Blog has an interesting article posted. In Hunter Orange & Bow Hunting he tells his readers about new legislation that, had it not been caught in time by observant North Carolina hunters, would have forced bow hunters to wear blaze orange during the bow season.

I am sure glad the hunters caught this before it became a law. I have to agree with what Moose had to say; “I personally believe that on private land the use of orange should be left up to the landowner and the hunter. Wearing orange while bow hunting is regulating a non-issue...” In fact, according to the recreational accident statistics, a hunter has more chance of being injured or killed while playing basketball or tennis. Shooting accidents with firearms and bows are less than one percent. With that in mind there is really no need to make a law that would force bow hunters to wear blaze orange during bow hunting season.

Having said that I do wear a blaze orange vest and hat during bow hunting season and spring turkey season on public land on my way to and from stand locations. About nine years ago a man – I refuse to call him a hunter- shot an arrow at me at dawn as I approached my tree stand. Yes, he was sitting in my tree stand. The arrow nicked the side of my neck- it missed so narrowly. His excuse was that he had mistaken me for a deer. The irony of it all was that he had a patch emblazoned on his hat from a well-established hunter education organization.

The lesson I learned from that incident is this: there always will be slobs sharing the woods with us. Never leave a tree stand on public land and in some cases it might be wise to wear blaze orange on public land. (Although I do not think that it would have helped me in that particular encounter.) With that experience under my belt, I still see no need for a law to make blaze orange during bow hunting season a must.

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2 comments:

Kristine said...

Othmar,

I think you hit the nail on the head. Although it would be lovely to assume that everyone who hunts is well trained and careful, that isn't always the case. Blaze orange won't keep those people out of the woods, but it might keep them from hurting you.

I'd say anything you can do to protect yourself and make it less likely you'll be injured is something that would be good to do.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks Kristine. I know that hunting is one of the safest recreational activities a person can pursue. What happened to me will very likely never occur again. You made an interesting point about assuming that everyone who hunts is well trained. While I fully support hunter education courses I am against making such courses mandatory for hunters. Hunter education organizations falsely claim that courses have made hunting safer and more ethical. Morals, character and ethics are not something that can be taught to a person at the age of 12 in a 45 something hour course. It starts at home from the day we’re born. The men that shoot at me wore a patch of a well-known hunter education organization. It didn’t stop him from being a slob.

Slobs always will be slobs no matter what rules and regulations are in place. Therefore it is up to us to do what ever we have to do to stay safe in the woods. And if that means to wear blaze orange in the bow season on the walk to and from the stand location then so be it. But that should be a personal decision and not mandatory by law. Unfortunately the governments seem to have this nanny attitude, thinking they have to protect us from ourselves in everything we do and I highly resent that.


-Othmar Vohringer-

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