Hunter orange- Should wearing it be voluntary or mandatory?

Written by Dick Mason, The Observer May 14, 2010 03:36 pm

Oregon is just one of 10 states that does not have some type of mandatory orange law for hunters.  Observer file photo
Oregon is just one of 10 states that does not have some type of mandatory orange law for hunters. Observer file photo
It is one of the most hotly debated questions the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has confronted in recent years.

Should Oregon hunters be required to wear orange?

The Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering making the wearing of hunter orange mandatory in Oregon beginning in 2011 to prevent vision related hunting mishaps.

The commission is set to decide at its June 4 meeting whether to pursue adoption of a mandatory orange requirement.

What specific proposals will the commission be considering?

La Grande Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists recently provided part of the answer. A list of five options the ODFW will submit to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration were shared with hunters at an open house meeting at the agency’s La Grande office.

The commission requested the options from biologists but is also urging people to send in their ideas about the issue.

“The commission really wants to hear what people have to say about this issue,’’ said ODFW Biologist Leonard Erickson.

Input can be e-mailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or sent to the ODFW Information and Education Division, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, 97303.

Following is a summary of the options the ODFW will present to the commission for consideration at its June 4 meeting in Salem.


• Option 1

The wearing of hunter orange will remain voluntary for all hunters in Oregon. Hunters would be encouraged to wear orange through an ODFW education and information campaign.


• Option 2

All youths age 17 and younger would be required to wear hunter orange while hunting all big game animals and upland birds except turkeys with any firearm. The youths would be required to wear an orange upper garment and a hat.


• Option 3

Everyone, regardless of age, would be required to wear orange while hunting in certain situations. They would have to wear it while hunting big game animals and upland game birds except turkeys while using a center fire firearm or a shotgun.

Hunters would be required to wear an orange upper garment or a hat.


• Option 4

This would be similar to Option 3 except that hunters would have to wear an upper garment and a hat. They would not have the option of wearing one or the other.


• Option 5

All hunters, regardless of age would be required to wear hunter orange. They would have to wear a orange upper garment and a hat. The requirement would apply to a wider range of hunting situations. It would apply for anyone hunting big game animals, upland game birds except turkeys, small game animals and predators with any firearm.

Should the Fish and Wildlife Commission decide to make hunter orange mandatory, it would adopt specific rules for the the new regulation in the fall. The regulation would likely take effect in 2011.