Hunting season is almost here in Floyd County and there’s a lot of people, yours truly included, anxiously awaiting opening day. Squirrel season opened on September 6th, coon season (my favorite!) opens October 15th and rabbit season opens November 1st. The season so many people are really waiting for is deer season. Archery season opens October 4th, muzzle loader season opens November 1st and rifle season opens November 15th.
Around the end of September, hunters will be digging out their favorite camouflage hunting suits, checking the laces on that old comfortable pair of boots and dusting off that lucky hunting hat. License? Check. Fresh ammunition? Check. Scope dialed in? Dead center, ready to go. Everything’s ready for opening morning. This could be the year I get that 12 pointer!
I appreciate your excitement and enthusiasm, but if you’re done with your check list, you left out something really important. That one thing that deer hunters despise, 300 square inches of blaze orange and matching hat.
From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:
When hunting any species during a firearms deer season and on youth/apprentice deer hunting day, every hunter or persons accompanying a hunter, shall wear a blaze orange hat or blaze orange upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees or display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange material at shoulder level within body reach and visible from 360 degrees. Hats may have a bill or brim color or design other than solid blaze orange. Hats shall not be in “camo” style, since the latter is designed to prevent visibility. A logo, which does not detract from visibility may be worn on a blaze orange hat.
Hunters using ground (pop-up, chair, box, etc.) or tree stand blinds that conceal them from view must display a minimum of 100 square inches of blaze orange, visible from 360 degrees, on the OUTSIDE of such blinds. This blaze orange is in addition to any worn on the hunter’s person.
During the muzzleloader seasons for hunting deer with a muzzleloading rifle only, every muzzleloader deer hunter and every person accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear blaze orange as specified above except when they are physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.
There are some exceptions that can be found in the free hunting regulations booklet published by VDGIF.
Not only is blaze orange required by law, it’s a good idea. Every year, shortly after the opening of deer season, I read of a hunter that’s been shot and killed because he was mistaken for a deer. If 300 square inches of blaze orange can keep me from getting shot, I don’t care how goofy I look, I’m puttin’ it on!
Some people say the blaze orange gives away their position to the deer. It’s been scientifically proven that deer are color blind. They see shades of gray, from black to white. There’s no counting how many deer have been killed by hunters wearing all that blaze orange. That’s all the proof I need.
When deer season opens, before you head out to get that big one, “orange up!” It may save your life so you can bring that big one home.