It's that time of year again.
I've been out hiking in National Forest and Wilderness for the past couple of days. Like just about everyone else I didn't wear any sort of orange to identify myself as a "non target".
I figured why bother, it's bow and maybe muzzle loader seasons. Both primitive weapons have a very limited range. A couple of women I met early Sunday morning who were walking with their dog informed me that it's early bear rifle season.
More below the safety orange squiggle.
Accidental shootings from hunting have plummeted in number over the past twenty or so years along with "unintentional" shootings in general. Two things have affected hunter safety. Mandatory hunter ed, and safety orange.
Our state requires over 500 inches on the upper torso and 100 inches on the head. I've never seen a fish and game officer taking a tape measure to anyone's vest but I'd think the vest and hat that everyone wears is sufficient.
One hiker I saw had an orange rag on the back of his pack, his wife was carrying their baby on a carrier. I've seen other people sling a vest over their day pack. Don't do this. Go ahead and put it on. and get a hat. Vests cost four of five bucks, same with a hat, if it's cold get a knit one. The objective is to have a large piece of orange visible from 360 degrees and especially on the head, as your head is your highest point. Wearing a piece of orange shielded from sight by your back pack does no good.
I know what you are thinking, "can't the *&^% hunter tell that I'm not a deer? Yes, usually, but that's not the main reason wearing orange is helpful.
Every hunter I know who hunts with a rifle is extremely aware of how much his bullets weigh, how fast they are going, and how long it takes for one to slow down and drop to the ground as so much harmless lead. (or more commonly copper these days) I've forgotten how far a 30/06, one of the most common hunting caliber goes, but at the altitude I hunt at it can go for 5 miles.
By wearing orange you are helping anyone with a gun to understand that it's impossible to shoot anywhere in your general direction. Hunters look into the distance much more often then most people. It's likely that someone wearing orange will be seen as just a flash of orange a long long time before a hunter has a clear view of them. Orange is easily visible to the unaided eye from 3 miles away. By wearing a vest and hat you make yourself seen, even if for a split second. No one takes a shot with a human anywhere that could be hit by ricochet.
Another option is to simply stay out of the woods during the short season. When I was a kid I lived for a while at the end of a dirt road a mile from the closest neighbor. Being inside for the week of deer season was a chore. Urban adults have it much easier. Most municipal and county parks are off limit to hunting as are all National Parks.
Statistically your chances are far higher of being killed from having a vehicular collision with a deer, than of being shot by an errant bullet, but why not help your odds.
Update or in addition : I forgot to mention... Deer, elk, moose, and all ungulates I know of don't see orange, they see gray. The mountain lions will spot you easier to make a dinner of you, I've heard (but don't know for a fact) that cats see orange. Blue and shades of blue tent to be very bright for deer, so think of your blue jeans glowing blue but all the reds and oranges as shades of gray when peering through deer colored glasses.