In Colorado, wearing blaze orange while hunting is essential. But why? Learn more about why this color is important and how it won’t affect your big game hunt.
The Importance of Blaze Orange
Hunters don’t wear blaze orange (or blaze pink) just because it looks good. Here are the three top reasons why hunters need to wear this color.
Safety is one of the biggest reasons to wear blaze orange while big game hunting. This is one of the most visible colors to the human eye. Unless you’re color-blind, you’re going to notice it no matter where you are or what season you’re in. It will also reduce the risk of any hunters being mistaken for a game animal and shot during the hunt. Hunting can get the adrenaline pumping, but you’ll know not to shoot when you see bright orange emerging from a rustling bush. By wearing orange garments during hunting, hunters are seven times less likely to get shot.
In Case of Emergencies
Another good reason to wear this fluorescent color is should you ever get lost or have a bad accident while in the field, you’ll be easier to be spotted by Search & Rescue. The Rocky Mountains are not easy terrain and the weather can be unpredictable. Accidents can happen. If you find yourself in a bad situation, picking out florescent orange from the mountainside is a lot easier than black or greys.
Depending on where you hunt, you may not be hunting alone. Imagine you’re on a hunt, you’re sitting on the edge of a basin, and you glass some mule deer feeding inside the basin. You’re ready to try and get in rifle range without being detected. But when you peek over the edge again, you see on the far ridge the tell-tale blaze orange hue of another hunter. You both had the same plan but had approached from opposite directions.
Knowing there’s another hunter in the area allows you to consider your options and adjust your plan. If the other hunter hadn’t been wearing orange, you would never have seen him and could have messed up both your hunts.
Can Elk and Mule Deer Detect Orange?
To some, it can be a bit of a head-scratcher to see hunters wearing bright orange clothing to go stealthily hunt big game. However, there is a method to the madness.
Elk and mule deer have very different vision than humans. One distinction is the placement of their eyes. While humans have a 180-degree field of view, elk and mule deer (and many other hoofed animals) have a 280-degree field of view due to their eyes being placed on the sides of their heads. Another distinction is color vision. Humans are trichromats, meaning we see red, yellow, and blue (as well as white, black, and shades of grey.). In exchange for their wide field of view, elk and mule deer have dichromatic vision, meaning they only see yellow and blue (as well as white, black, and shades of grey). Orange is not a part of the colors they can see. That means hunters can wear their blaze orange gear and not be detected because to an elk or mule deer, it will just be a blob of grey.
In most states in the U.S., wearing this bright color is a requirement. Each state has its own rules, so it’s best to know them before heading out for a hunt.
In Colorado, it’s necessary for rifle and muzzleloader hunters to wear at least 500 square inches of solid blaze orange or pink above the waist while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose. This includes a hat or head covering that is visible from all directions. Camouflage orange or camouflage pink does not meet this requirement. Mesh garments are legal but not recommended.
Wear Blaze Orange on Your Next Hunt with Soap Mesa Outfitters
The easiest and best way to stay safe during your hunt is to wear blaze orange. But for a safe Colorado big game hunt, contact us at Soap Mesa Outfitters. Let our hunting guides handle the planning and preparing for your hunt, leaving you to enjoy the good parts. We provide the best guided hunts in Western Colorado and we’ll be happy to show you what you’ve been missing.