Hunter’s Corner: Taking precautions with blaze orange

For the Monitor
Sunday, October 08, 2017

In most hunting situations you rarely see other hunters, with two major exceptions – pheasant season (Oct. 1-Dec. 31) and deer season (archery Sept. 15-Dec. 15; muzzleloader and firearms Oct. 28-Dec. 3). This is because of pheasant stocking sites and deer season’s still hunters, which means its vitally important for outdoor enthusiasts to wear an article of blaze orange clothing during these seasons. Whether you are a hunter or a non-hunter, you need to be seen by other hunters.

The hunter is responsible for controlling the muzzle of their gun, as well as identifying the target and what’s behind the target, and blaze orange helps with that identification. The advent of the fluorescent color has helped reduce hunting incidents nationwide.

Overall, New Hampshire has an excellent record for hunter safety, which is largely attributable to hunter education classes and the wearing of blaze orange. Hunter education classes became mandatory in the 1970’s for first-time hunters. During the ’60s, there was an average of 21.4 incidents per year. Fewer incidents have occurred each decade since, with an average of 3.4 incidents per year since 2002.

It’s also the time of year again when drivers need to heed the “Brake for Moose” signs because moose are on the move. October is mating season for moose and they are in active pursuit of a mate.

Moose Project Leader Kristine Rines advises motorists to see and react quickly if you see a moose on or near the roadway. She also offers these tips to avoid colliding with a moose:

Drive no faster than 55 miles per hour, especially at night, dusk and dawn.

Use high beams when possible.

Be ready to stop within the zone of your headlights.

Scan the sides of the roads as you drive.

If you see a moose, expect it to run in front of you, so slow down.

Peak interest

A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that 101.6 million Americans, 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older participated in wildlife-related activities such as hunting, fishing and wildlife watching in 2016.

The survey illustrates national gains in wildlife watching and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion, the most in the last 25 years.