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Proposed Hunter Orange Mandate in Oregon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Please Stand Up and Make Your Voices Heard!

There are five different options under the proposed hunter orange rule currently being considered by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. They range from maintaining the status quo of no hunter orange requirement to a mandate for all firearms hunters other than those pursuing turkey and waterfowl.  The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a Hunter Orange Report to the Commission (HORC) http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/safety/docs/Draft_Hunter_Orange_Commission_Report.pdf  that contains creative statistics in support of a mandate.  Even in this era of ever-expanding government mandates, the decision to wear hunter orange should be left up to the individual, not the state. 

The HORC highlights the fact that only 19 percent of vision-related shooting incidents reported over a twenty year period in Oregon involved victims who were wearing hunter orange, suggesting that there would be fewer incidents if more hunters wore orange.  The authors ignore the fact that in the same HORC document, there are estimates that only 15 to 25 percent of hunters voluntarily wear hunter orange.  This makes as little sense as a report claiming that blue cars are safer than cars painted other colors because they are involved in only 19 percent of all accidents despite the fact that blue cars represent 19 percent of all vehicles on the public roads.  The truth in both cases is that the results are more likely a function of random selection. 

To their credit, the HORC authors recognize that Oregon is already a safe state for hunters even when compared to states like Washington that have imposed a hunter orange mandate.  Washington has a rate of 4.65 incidents per 100,000 license sales compared to Oregon’s rate of 1.56. This is strong evidence suggesting that the state’s hunters can be trusted to make the decision that best suits their personal circumstances.

Please plan to attend a meeting on Friday, June 4th, and make your voice heard!  The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE. Salem, OR 97303.  The Commission will be briefed on these rule options during this meeting in Salem, when they will decide whether to move forward with formal rule-making. If they decide to proceed, final rules regarding hunter orange would be considered at the Oct. 1, 2010 meeting in Bend when 2011 big game regulations will be set.

Members of the public may testify in person about mandatory hunter orange at the June and October Commission meetings. If you are unable to attend, written comments about the proposals can also be e-mailed to odfw.comments@state.or.us or sent to ODFW Information and Education Division, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem, OR 97303.

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