January 9, 2013
WEARING ORANGE DURING THE HUNTING SEASON
By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney
You asked if neighboring states (Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island) require users of state forest land to wear fluorescent orange during the designated hunting season.
Rhode Island requires all users of state forest land to wear fluorescent orange during designated hunting seasons, whether or not they are hunters.
Massachusetts requires only hunters to wear orange during the shotgun deer hunting season.
There is no law in New York requiring hunters or others to wear orange during hunting season, though most hunters choose to do so, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
All people who use Rhode Island's state management areas (e.g., public forests) and undeveloped state parks, including hunters, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, must wear at least 200 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange during designated hunting seasons. But during the shotgun deer season, which begins on December 1, people must wear at least 500 square inches of orange (R.I. Code of Regs. 25-8-32:16, 25-8-32:17, and 25-8-33:7).
Hunting season includes the third Saturday in October to the last day of February, annually. For the 2012-2013 hunting season, the orange requirement is extended to include the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and the third Saturday in April to the last day in May.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the orange clothing should include a hat and vest worn above the waist and be visible in all directions.
During the shotgun deer season, a person hunting deer, migratory game birds, or coyote in Massachusetts must wear in a conspicuous manner on his or her chest, back, and head, at least 500 square inches of clothing or material in a hunter orange color. People hunting waterfowl from within a hunting blind or a boat are exempt from the requirement (Mass. Gen. Laws. Ann. ch. 131, § 71 and Mass. Code Regs. 3.02).
“Hunter orange color” is a daylight fluorescent orange color with a dominant wave length between 595 and 605 nanometers, excitation purity not less than 85 percent, and luminance factor of not less than 40 percent (Mass. Code Regs. 3.01(2)).