The November portion of firearms deer season is nearly here, and that means it’s time to wear hunter orange.
If you’re hunting any type of game during Missouri’s firearms deer season, which starts Saturday and continues through Nov. 26 and is followed by a Youth Portion from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, wearing orange, specifically hunter or “blaze” orange, is required in the Show-Me State. Hunters found not wearing orange will be cited by law enforcement.
Each year on Fort Leonard Wood, Conservation Law Enforcement officers issue multiple citations to hunters on the installation who fail to wear hunter orange.
Wearing hunter orange is required because of its effectiveness in preventing accidental shootings. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, by making hunters highly visible to each other, hunter orange greatly reduces the likelihood of incidents. Conservation officials have even referred to hunter orange as “excellent health insurance” when entering or leaving the woods.
According to the MDC website, huntfish.mdc.mo.gov, state regulations require hunters to wear hunter orange when:
— Hunting any species of game during firearms deer season.
— Hunting on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.
— Serving as a mentor to another hunter during firearms deer season or on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.
To be in compliance, hunters must wear both a hunter-orange hat and a hunter-orange shirt, vest, or coat. The hunter-orange color must be plainly visible from all sides, and camouflage orange does not satisfy the rule.
Fort Leonard Wood hunters must not only follow state regulations but also FLW Regulation 210-21, which has additional requirements for the muzzleloading portions of firearms deer season, also called the “Firearms Alternative Methods” season, which runs from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7. During this season, all hunters, regardless of the species of game being pursued, must wear hunter orange. Bowhunters hunting from elevated stands and waterfowl hunters are exempted.
There are some exceptions to the hunter-orange rules. Wearing hunter orange is not required for:
— Those hunting migratory game birds.
— Bowhunters within municipal boundaries where discharging firearms is prohibited.
— Hunting on federal or state lands where hunting is restricted to archery methods.
— Bowhunters using an archery permit during the Alternative Methods portion of deer season.
— Those hunting in a county that is closed during the Urban Zones and Antlerless portions of deer season (Dec. 6 through 8).
— You are hunting small game or furbearers during the Alternative Methods portion.
For more information about Missouri hunting regulations, visit the MDC online at mdc.mo.gov.