With firearms deer-hunting season kicking off in the Show-Me State on Nov. 12, it’s important for hunters to know the regulations regarding the wear of solid hunter orange.
With firearms deer-hunting season kicking off in the Show-Me State on Nov. 12, it’s important for hunters to know the regulations regarding the wear of solid hunter orange. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — With firearms deer-hunting season kicking off in the Show-Me State on Nov. 12, it’s important for hunters to know the regulations regarding the wear of solid hunter orange.

Sometimes referred to as blaze orange, the color is imperceptible to deer, but highly visible to humans, making it an effective — and essential — component of hunter safety, said Lt. Jason Ploss, Conservation Law Enforcement supervisor with the Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Emergency Services.

Each year, Ploss said DES issues multiple citations to hunters who fail to wear the color in accordance with state law and post regulations.

“It’s the law: during the firearm portion of deer season, all hunters must wear a cap, or hat, vest or coat, having the outermost color be hunter orange and be plainly visible from all sides while being worn,” Ploss said. “Camouflage-orange garments do not meet this requirement.”

On post, the only exception to the rule is for hunters participating in the Cantonment Archery Hunt, where the use of firearms is prohibited. However, even though wearing orange isn’t required, it’s still a good idea, according to Ploss.

“It’s recommended that hunters in cantonment areas have hunter orange available, should the need arise, to track deer into other hunting areas,” he said. “Unlike the state hunting orange requirements, while hunting in archery areas on Fort Leonard Wood during the youth and firearm seasons, you must meet hunter orange requirements unless you are in an elevated stand — this means to and from your stand and while moving around on the ground.”

The reason behind the requirements is simple: Hunter orange prevents accidental shootings. Don Busbice, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Safety Office director, said hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.

“Hunter orange is worn by hunters to increase their visibility and to reduce their potential for being mistaken for game,” Busbice said. “(And) hanging an orange vest or other cloth on or near your tree stand alerts other hunters to your presence without attracting the attention of deer.”

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, state regulations require hunters to wear hunter orange when:

  • Hunting any species of game during firearms deer season;
  • Hunting in an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt; and
  • Serving as a mentor to another hunter during firearms deer season or on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.

Ploss said Fort Leonard Wood hunters must not only follow state regulations but also FLW Regulation 210-21, which has additional requirements for the muzzle loading portions of firearms deer season, also called the “Firearms Alternative Methods” season, from Dec. 24 through Jan. 3. During this season, all hunters, regardless of the species of game being pursued, must wear hunter orange. Only bow hunters hunting from elevated stands and waterfowl hunters are exempted.

Additional safety tips

Both Ploss and Busbice recommend hunters also follow basic firearm safety practices, including:

  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Only point at what you plan to shoot.
  • Don’t touch triggers until ready to shoot.
  • Before shooting, clearly identify targets, and be aware of what lies beyond them.
  • Plan for weather conditions, and dress appropriately before heading out.
  • Always let someone know when and where you will be hunting and when they should expect your return.
  • When hunting from elevated stands, climbing stands or ladder stands, always use a safety harness.

For more information, visit the Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman site.