By Montana Grant

Posted: October 25, 2018

Hunters florescent orange vests and hats are essential for safe hunting in most hunting scenarios. This bright color warns others of your presence, so you are not miss identified or in the line of fire. Makes perfect sense. Landowners and wardens can also locate hunters from afar.

Most states require the wearing of Hunter Orange for pheasants, quail, grouse, and other upland birds, but not Montana. The excitement and speed of the flushing birds’ forces hunters to identify and shoot their targets quickly. Inexperienced hunters easily become overwhelmed and just shoot. Many accidents happen during upland bird hunting. Most are preventable by wearing Hunter Orange.

There are absolutely no reasons why upland bird hunters are not required to wear hunter orange. This is a point that needs to be addressed by Montana FWP.

Here is an example of why. The other day, I was pheasant hunting at Canyon Ferry. My 2 dogs and I were working an edge of cut wheat bordered by cedars. This was a perfect spot to find smart roosters. Suddenly the dogs began barking and a fully camouflaged “bird hunter” stepped out of the cover. “I didn’t see any birds” he said. I asked him what he was doing. “Oh, I saw your orange and figured you would be coming down this edge. I figured you would run a rooster or two by me!” What an idiot! He may have shot my dogs, I could have shot him, over a stupid bird! What a terrible way to hunt and put others at risk. This is not the first time I have run into these “Stealthy Stupid Pheasant hunters”. It happened a few times near Great Falls in the same situations. In their defense, they are not required to wear an inch of Hunters Orange. Their Stupidity is legal!

I have seen smart joggers, hikers, bikers, and tourists wearing Hunters Orange. Farmers dress their horses and dogs with Hunter orange collars or garments, but not Montana Pheasant hunters! The idiot I ran into bragged about his freedom and rights. Give me a break, his rights could have caused a fatal accident over a pheasant! Put on a damn Hunters Orange hat!!!

Not all forms of hunting require hunter orange. Turkey, archery, dove, and waterfowl hunting are best done in camouflage. Animals are color blind, but bright colors do reflect more light that they can see. Proper safety is still required but much of this hunting is close range.

Big Game Rifle hunting requires safety orange. If you archery hunt during rifle season you are required to wear hunter orange. Archers wear full camo during regular archery season. Smart hunters carry an orange hat with them during camo hunts, so they can wear it when they are done and walking out. This is important when they are hauling out an elk or deer rack.

No one wants to get shot when hunting. Our dogs, farm animals, hunting partners, other hunters, and pets also do not want to get shot. Let’s fix this overlooked problem before another hunter, or dog is shot!

Put some Orange on please!

Montana Grant

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