For Public Safety, DEM Urges Users of State Mgmt. Areas to Wear Fluorescent Orange Clothing During Hunting Seasons

Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Noting that it is archery and small game season on the hunting calendar, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is urging all recreational users of state management areas and undeveloped state parks to wear 200 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange clothing while using these areas. For public safety, wearing bright orange articles of clothing is mandatory during the designated hunting seasons. This winter, DEM has received many reports of non-compliance. Recreational users of these areas – including hikers, birdwatchers, people walking their dogs, etc. – who don’t wear orange are putting themselves at risk for accidental shootings, injuries, or worse. An orange vest that’s 20 inches long by 25 inches wide fulfills this requirement during small game season. An orange hat also fulfills the 200-inch requirement for this time of year.

“As first responders, DEM wants to prevent terrible tragedies from ever occurring,” said Division of Law Enforcement Chief Dean Hoxsie. “Wearing a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange during hunting season is mandatory, it’s not an option. As we start 2023, we ask all users of state recreational areas to recommit to wearing the appropriate amount of bright orange clothing when using these areas. Currently, archery and small game season are open, so wearing a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange is required.”

Combined, the United States and Canada experience around 1,000 hunting accidents a year, with about 10% of these resulting in death, according to the International Hunter Education Association. In around 75% of the cases, victims were not wearing any fluorescent orange, were mistaken for game, and shot by a hunting partner. During the shotgun deer season, archers and waterfowl hunters are exempt from wearing orange in areas of the state that are limited to archery hunting only and waterfowl hunters hunting only from a boat or blind, over water or field, and when done in conjunction with decoys.

Hunter education is offered as part of DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course, helping to reduce hunting-related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available hereFor more information on seasons, bag limits, zones, and regulations, review the 2022-23 Hunting and Trapping Abstract.

For more information on DEM programs and services, visit Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), Facebook, or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem and @ri.fishandwildlife).