Hunters generally realize that wearing bright, bold colors will make them safer out in the field. In the state of Maryland, laws have been enacted to ensure hunters follow this aged old tradition. Until recently, there was an exemption that allowed hunters to forgo wearing orange when hunting on their own land.
The Maryland General Assembly adopted a rule change that reserves this decision. Now, hunters will be forced to wear the safety gear, regardless of where they choose to hunt.
The Department of Natural Resources Director of Communications, Stephen Schatz, explained the rule change. “All hunters are required to wear blaze orange, or safety orange. There was one exemption for landowners. This change has been considered in the past but this was a move to bring consistency to the law as well as safety perspective.”
Schatz went on to admit that the change’s intentions were blatant. The rule change received no opposition. Hunting reason is rapidly approaching and the new rule have just been enacted. Schatz has confirmed that the DNR Staff and Natural Resources Police will not enforce the law strictly this year.
Instead, the goal will be to educate hunters first and enforce second. The next hunting season will focus on education. Schatz went on to reassure hunters that wearing orange would not impact their productivity. While other hunters will recognize the color, wildlife will remain unfazed.
Schatz went on to boast that Maryland had some of the safest hunters in the country. DNR records indicate that Maryland hunters only reported seven injuries during the 2015 hunting season. Five of the seven were attributed to falls from tree stands. In Allegany County, one hunter was not wearing orange when he was mistaken for a turkey and shot in the face.
In November of 2016, A Delaware man was transported to the United of Maryland Shock Trauma Center after experiencing a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg. The man was hunted on Wards Hill Road in Warwick at the time. During the same month, a California man was killed during a hunting accident in Frederick County. Authorities believe the man slipped and dropped his gun, causing it to discharge and strike him in the head.
The new law will attempt to keep these numbers to a minimum, by protecting hunters across the state.