Wear blaze orange when heading afield

With a photo

CONCORD — Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to put on a bright orange article of clothing when they head afield this fall. Wearing a fluorescent orange hat, vest, or jacket makes you highly visible, one of several key safety precautions for hunters, hikers and others enjoying the autumn woods. Several hunting seasons are already underway in New Hampshire (see www.huntnh.com/hunting/hunt-dates.html).
 
"Wearing blaze orange has definitely been shown to decrease hunting incidents across the country," said Josh Mackay, who coordinates the Hunter Education Program at the state Fish and Game Department.
 
Mackay stressed that, along with wearing blaze orange, the top safety rules for hunters are controlling the muzzle of your gun at all times and positively identifying your target — and what's beyond — 100 percent of the time.
 
Overall, New Hampshire has an excellent record for hunter safety, largely attributable to the state's effective Hunter Education programs. The average number of hunting-related incidents in New Hampshire per year has gone down each decade since mandatory Hunter Education classes became required in the 1970s. The 1960s saw an average of 21.4 incidents per year in New Hampshire. Fewer incidents have occurred each decade since, with an average of 3.4 incidents per year since 2002.
 
It's a good idea for all outdoor enthusiasts getting outdoors in the fall to think safety by wearing blaze orange, sticking to established trails, and reviewing the safe hiking guidelines at hikesafe.com.
 
For more information on dates and details of New Hampshire’s hunting seasons, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting.