Pete Davison (603) 271-3214
Tom Flynn: (603) 536-1290
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
November 13, 2008
Play It Safe -- Put on the Orange!
CONCORD, N.H. -- Whether you're hunting, hiking or out for a stroll with the dog, put on an item of highly visible blaze orange clothing when you're out enjoying the great outdoors this time of year. Be aware of hunting seasons and prepare to share the woods. To make sure you can be seen, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts should wear a fluorescent orange hat, vest or jacket. Consider decking the dog out with a colorful bandana. To play it safe, put on the orange!
New Hampshire's hunting seasons are underway, including the season that brings the most hunters into the field, firearms hunting for deer, which began November 12 and runs through through December 7, 2008 (except in northern New Hampshire, where it November 14-30 in Wildlife Management Unit A).
"Wearing hunter orange has definitely been shown to decrease hunting incidents across the country," said Tom Flynn, Manager of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. "It's especially important for hunters, because the overwhelming majority of hunting-related incidents involve members of the same hunting party, not nonhunters. 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."
New Hampshire has an excellent record for hunting safety. The average yearly number of hunting incidents in the state has gone steadily down since the 1960s. Progress in reducing hunting-related incidents can be attributed to both the widespread use of blaze orange clothing and mandatory hunter education. The first hunter education law was passed in New Hampshire in 1963, and hunter education became a requirement for all first-time hunters in the state in 1977.
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 4 incidents (not fatalities) per year from 1993 to 2007. Serious incidents are even more rare -- only three hunting-related fatalities have occurred in the state in the last 15 years (this includes a man who had a heart attack while hunting).
For more information on dates and details of N.H. hunting seasons, online license sales, or to download the N.H. Hunting Digest, visit www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/hunting.htm.
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