Some of the outfits worn on hunts make seasoned hunters shake their heads in disbelief since the clothing would be more suited to a shopping mall than a hunt! Some may question the validity of wearing hunter orange and camouflage on a squirrel hunt. What is the purpose of these clothing choices for hunting?
The wearing of hunter orange is a legal requirement for hunting in certain states for the sake of visibility and hunter safety. Some states do not require hunter orange to be worn for squirrel hunting unless the season coincides with deer hunting season. Camouflage is a personal choice.
Many hunters do not like wearing hunter orange. But are required to do so by the hunting regulations in their state. So what is the purpose of hunter orange? And does wearing camouflage with hunter orange serve any purpose given the bright orange color?
Must Squirrel Hunters Wear Hunter Orange And Camouflage?
Much of squirrel hunting is done at short distances compared to the longer distances associated with deer or elk hunting. This shorter distance reduces the risk of being shot by a fellow hunter but does not eliminate the possibility.
Many states have instituted laws forcing hunters to wear bright orange-colored clothing to avoid hunting accidents where hunters accidentally shoot other hunters.
The fluorescent orange color is sometimes referred to as blaze orange or hunter orange and stands out in daylight.
What Is The Purpose Of Hunter Orange Gear?
The purpose of hunter orange gear or clothing is to make the hunter visible to other hunters and avoid shooting accidents.
Camouflage or bush tone clothing makes a hunter challenging to see in the wilderness. If the hunter is difficult to see, other hunters could mistake a person for a deer or other animal in the woods and accidentally shoot a fellow hunter.
Orange is a color that does not occur very often on animals, especially the fluorescent orange worn by hunters. However, this color stands out in the wilderness, and no hunter can mistake someone wearing hunter orange for a game animal.
Can Squirrels See Hunter Orange?
Animals perceive colors differently from humans, and the colors do not stand out for animals in the same way it does for humans.
Game animals, including squirrels, rely on their sense of smell and hearing more than their eyesight to detect danger. Consequently, many game animals do not see in the full-color spectrum as we do and have a more light-and-dark perception.
Squirrels will see hunter-orange as a light color rather than a fluorescent glow. The biggest issue with hunter orange is that it is a solid color that does not break up your body shape or silhouette.
This makes your movements more noticeable. And allows game animals to see your movements more easily rather than the color giving you away.
The hunting exception for color is game birds. Such as waterfowl, which can see in color, and hunter orange will give your position away to the birds.
A general rule-of-thumb regarding the animal perception of color is that if the animal is colorful, it can usually perceive color since color plays a part in the mating rituals. Mating colors for some birds are a prime example of this as the males develop impressive color displays to attract a mate.
This is why wearing hunter orange is often not a legal requirement for hunting game birds or waterfowl. However, squirrels do not fall into the category of animals that can perceive color, making it necessary for hunters to comply with wearing hunter orange in certain states.
Are Squirrel Hunters Required To Wear Hunter Orange?
The requirement to wear hunter orange for squirrel hunting varies from location to location. In some states, wearing hunter orange is required for all forms of hunting, squirrel hunting included.
Other states, squirrel hunters are exempt from wearing blaze orange. In contrast, in other locations, squirrel hunters are only required to wear orange for the part of the squirrel hunting season that overlaps with deer hunting season.
The level of hunter orange color that must be displayed also varies from state to state, with some states only requiring a hunter orange cap to be worn. Other states stipulate a certain area in square inches of hunter orange that must be displayed on some regions of the body above the waist.
Some states have allowed the use of blaze orange outerwear in a camouflage pattern. This adaptation offers the best of both worlds since the color stands out for humans, while the camouflage pattern will break up your profile and give you an edge over the animals.
While camouflage orange is acceptable in some states, others require a solid color to comply with the regulations.
Does Camouflage Clothing Help For Squirrel Hunting?
Many hunters wear camouflage clothing under their hunter orange vests while hunting. But, does the camouflage clothing offer any benefit for the hunter given the high visibility nature of the orange color?
As we have already mentioned, the bright color of the hunter orange does not stand out for wildlife the same way it does for human vision. However, the solid color makes the movement of the hunter more detectable by the animals.
Squirrels will not detect the orange color, but a solid, unbroken color will attract their attention, particularly if you are hunting on the move.
Wearing camouflage under your hunter orange clothing will help to break up your body outline and reduce the detection of movement when you are in the woods. This will give you some advantage over wearing brighter clothes while hunting squirrels.
Is Camouflage Clothing Necessary For Squirrel Hunting?
Camouflage clothing is typically expensive, and while it does help limit your movement detection in the woods, it is not essential for squirrel hunting.
Many hunters hunt successfully in neutral bush-tone clothing with no camouflage. Therefore, going out and buying a complete camouflage hunting wardrobe is unnecessary before going on a squirrel hunt.
Wearing hunter orange for squirrel hunting is only a requirement if the hunting regulations in your area require you to do so. It is important that hunters comply with this requirement for safety and to avoid falling foul of the law.
Camouflage clothing for squirrel hunters is not a requirement but rather a personal choice.
Many hunters prefer to wear camouflage because the patterns break up their physical profile in the woods and make movements less detectable by the squirrels.
However, a squirrel is more likely to hear or smell you before seeing you, so practicing your stealth and hunting skills is a better option than relying on camouflage alone.
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