October is upon us, which means there are likely pumpkins everywhere you look these days. Between the festive gourds, the changing leaves and the Halloween decorations, one can be overwhelmed with the amount of orange in October. The most important place to find it, though, it gearing up for hunting.
The particular shade of orange that has usurped camouflage is called “blaze orange.” (Trivia for you: that particular shade of the Golden Gate Bridge is “international orange.”) For those looking to mix it, “blaze pink” is also beginning to appear more often on the hunting scene, but orange is still the most dominant hue. Rules differ in each state on the minimum hunter orange requirements, so below are some of the basics in the Northeast in a state-by-state guide for your reference (courtesy of DSG Outerwear):
- Connecticut – From Sept. 1 through the last day of February, all hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange exterior clothing above the waist. In this case, camouflage orange is permitted. Exceptions: Archery deer hunting not during firearm deer seasons. Archery hunters may remove blaze orange garments while sitting in a tree stand that is at least 10 feet above the ground. Also excepted are turkey hunters; waterfowl hunting from a stationary position; and raccoon and opossum hunting at night.
- Delaware – On their head, chest and back, hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange during deer hunting firearm seasons. Those hunting from a ground blind must display that same amount of blaze orange within 10 feet of the blind and at least three feet off the ground. Exception: Migratory game bird hunters.
- Maine – During an open firearm season, hunters must wear at least two articles of solid blaze orange exterior clothing. One of these articles must be a hat, with the second covering a majority of the torso. Outside of these seasons, but during an open moose hunting season in a WMD, all hunters must wear one article of solid-colored hunter orange clothing. Exception: Waterfowl hunters while hunting from a boat, blind or with waterfowl decoys.
- Maryland – Hunters (and their companions) must wear a solid blaze orange or pink hat, vest or jacket with at least 250 square inches of solid blaze orange or pink, or an exterior fluorescent camouflage garment above the waist that is at least 50% blaze orange or pink. This amount of blaze orange or pink must also be displayed while hunting from ground blinds. Exceptions: Hunters of wetland game birds, doves, crows and wild turkeys; falconers; and bow hunters during archery season.
- Massachusetts – Deer hunters, as well as other hunters during deer firearm season, must wear at least 500 square inches of blaze orange on their exterior above the waist. Otherwise, a blaze orange hat must be worn by hunters on Wildlife Management Areas during pheasant or quail season. Exceptions: Waterfowl hunters in a blind or boat.
- New Hampshire – Archery and firearm hunters, except those hunting waterfowl, are strongly encouraged to wear blaze orange that is visible, above the waist, from at least a distance of 200 feet.
- New Jersey – Firearm hunters are required to wear a solid blaze orange hat or exterior garment that totals at least 200 square inches of blaze orange. Those hunting from a ground blind must also display 200 square inches of hunter orange. Small game hunters must wear a blaze orange hat while hunting on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasant or quail. Exceptions: Waterfowl, crow, wild turkey, coyote, fox and woodchuck hunters; bow hunters (except when carrying a deer decoy into and out of the hunting area).
- New York – Deer or bear firearm hunters ages 14 or 15 (and their mentors) must wear a shirt, jacket or vest that displays at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned blaze orange or pink, or a hat that is at least 50% blaze orange or pink. Other hunters are not required to wear blaze orange or pink, but it is highly recommended, especially for small or big game hunters.
- Ohio – During firearm deer season, hunters must wear an exterior vest, coat, jacket or overalls of blaze orange. Solid or camouflage hunter orange is acceptable. Exception: Waterfowl hunters.
- Pennsylvania – Hunters pursuing small game, deer, bear or elk during firearm seasons (as well as October muzzleloader antlerless deer and bear seasons) must wear at least 250 square inches of blaze orange on their head, chest or back. Woodchuck hunters are only required to wear at least a hat of blaze orange. Those hunting from blinds or enclosed tree stands must display 100 square inches of blaze orange. Exceptions: Waterfowl, dove, turkey, crow or furbearer hunters; archery deer, bear or elk hunters during archery season.
- Rhode Island – All hunters and users of management areas and undeveloped state parks must wear at least 500 square inches of solid blaze orange during firearm deer season. These restrictions apply to solid blaze orange worn above the waist. Otherwise, small game hunters during small game season, autumn turkey hunters while traveling and muzzleloader deer hunters during muzzleloader deer season must wear at least 200 square inches. Archers traveling to and from elevated stands during muzzleloader season must also adhere to this requirement. Hunters using pop-up blinds during firearm season must display 200 square inches of hunter orange. All other users of State Management Areas must wear at least 200 square inches of blaze orange, annually, from the second Saturday in September through the last day of February, as well as the third Saturday in April through the last day in May. Exceptions: Waterfowl hunters in a boat or blind, over water or field with decoys; crow hunters utilizing decoys; spring turkey hunters; first segment dove hunters; nighttime raccoon hunters.
- Vermont – Blaze orange is highly recommended for hunters, but not required.
- Virginia – During firearm deer season, hunters (and their companions) must wear a solid blaze orange or pink hat, exterior garment on their upper body that is visible from all sides, or at least 100 square inches of blaze orange or pink material that is on display within reach, at shoulder level or higher and is visible from all sides. When hunting from a ground blind, hunters must display 100 square inches of solid blaze colored material as well. Exceptions: Waterfowl and dove hunters; dog field trial participants; fox hunters on horseback without firearms.
This information was posted in March 2021, so be sure to check for updates wherever you may be considering hunting. Be safe out there, and good luck!