State by State Guide: When is Blaze Orange Required for Hunters?

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As of September 2022, 42 states have rules and legislation requiring hunters to wear blaze orange clothing and equipment in the field. Each state imposes its own set of recommendations, requirements, and conditions, which can be challenging to navigate if you want to know when blaze orange is required for hunting in your area.

Here is a condensed state-by-state list of laws and regulations regarding the use of blaze orange, also known as hunting orange, hunter orange, international orange, or safety orange.

Alabama

According to the Alabama Administrative Code (220-2-.85), hunters must wear a minimum of 144 square inches of non-camouflage-patterned hunter orange or a full-size hat or cap of the same color in most circumstances, except when hunting from a stand at least 12 feet from the ground.

Alaska

Although Alaska does not require hunters to wear blaze orange, the state strongly encourages its use.

Arizona

Arizona authorities do not require hunters to wear orange but strongly recommend it.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (Regulation 05.20) requires hunters and accompanying people hunting deer, bears, or elk with firearms to comply with the following rules:

  • Must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of blaze orange or fluorescent safety green above the waist, including a hat, visible from all sides.
  • Must use a minimum of 144 square inches of blaze orange or fluorescent safety green on hunting blinds, visible from all sides.

California

The Golden State has no blaze orange legislation on the books, although the California DFW recommends all hunters wear high-visibility gear in the field.

Colorado

According to the Colorado Revised Statutes (33-6-121), people hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, or black bear with a firearm must wear a minimum of 500 inches of solid hunter orange or pink above the waist, including a hat.

The orange or pink material must be daylight-fluorescent, such as on a Mossy Oak blaze orange vest.

Connecticut

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), all hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of fluorescent orange from September 1 to February 28 (or 29 on leap years), except in specific circumstances.

Camouflage-patterned orange is legal. Although not required, CT-DEEP strongly recommends wearing a fluorescent orange head covering.

Delaware

According to the Delaware Code (7 DE Code 718), deer hunters must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest, and back. If hunting from a ground blind, the blind must be covered with at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material, at least 3 feet off the ground and within 10 feet of the blind.

Florida

According to the Florida Statutes (379.33), deer hunters and accompanying people must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight-fluorescent orange material above the waist.

A head covering, such as an orange reflective safari hat, is recommended but not mandatory. This statute does not apply to bowhunters during bow seasons.

Georgia

The Georgia Code (27-3-40) stipulates that all deer hunters and accompanying individuals must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight-fluorescent orange above the waistline. Hats and head coverings are not required but count towards the 500 square inches.

Hawaii

The Hawaii Administrative Rules (13-123-22 (g)) prohibit hunters, assistants, and guides from entering any hunting area unless wearing outer garments made using solid or mesh blaze orange materials (shirts, vests, jackets, coats) visible from the front and the back.

Idaho

Generally, Idaho does not require hunters to wear blaze orange equipment, except in specific circumstances such as sponsored hunts and pheasant hunting on Upland Game Bird Permit land. In such cases, Idaho Fish & Game regulations require a minimum of 36 square inches of solid hunter orange above the waist.

Illinois

According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (520 ILCS 5/2.33 (ff) and (gg)), all hunters must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink. This statute applies regardless of species hunted, except migratory waterfowl.

Hunters participating in an upland game season must wear a cap or head covering in blaze orange or blaze pink, with no minimum surface area requirements.

Indiana

The Indiana Code (14-22-38-7) stipulates that hunters must wear at least one of the following approved articles of clothing in hunting orange: Vest, coat, jacket, coveralls, hat, or cap. Although logos and prints are permitted, they must not significantly reduce the visibility of the orange material. Camouflage-patterned orange clothing is not allowed.

Iowa

According to the Iowa Code (481A.122), firearm deer hunters must wear at least one or more approved articles of clothing in 100% solid blaze orange: Vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt, or coveralls. Camouflage-patterned orange is not allowed.

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Upland game bird hunters are subjected to the same regulations but may wear clothing that is 50% blaze orange or more instead.

Kansas

Kansas Administrative Regulations (115-4-4 (d)) require deer and elk firearm hunters, plus all accompanying individuals, to meet the following requirements:

  • Must wear a blaze orange hat, at least 50% of which is blaze orange visible from all directions
  • Must wear an upper body garment with a minimum of 200 square inches of blaze orange, including 100 visible from the front and 100 visible from the back

The Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks specifies that camo-patterned orange clothing is legal as long as they are blaze orange.

Kentucky

According to the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (301 KAR 2:172), hunters participating in the modern firearm deer season, elk firearm season, muzzleloading season, or youth firearm season must wear solid blaze orange clothing, except when hunting waterfowl or mourning dove.

Solid blaze orange clothes must be visible on all sides of the head, back, and chest. Camouflage-patterned orange items do not count and must be covered by solid orange layers.

Louisiana

Firearm deer hunters using centerfire rifles, shotguns loaded with slugs or buckshot, or muzzleloading firearms must follow the regulations outlined by the Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS 56:143).

The law stipulates that each hunter must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of daylight fluorescent material in either hunter orange or blaze pink. Hunters on private land are exempt from this requirement, provided they wear a cap, hat, or head covering in either color. Additionally, this statute does not apply to hunters posted on tree stands on private land nor to bowhunters where archery hunting is legal.

Maine

In Maine, the Revised Statutes (Title 12, 11203) state that firearm and crossbow hunters wear at least two pieces of approved clothing in hunting orange, visible from all sides and in serviceable condition.

One of the two pieces must be a solid hunting orange hat, whereas the other must be at least 50% hunting orange and cover most of the torso, such as a jacket, vest, or poncho. Decals and prints are allowed, as long as they do not reduce the visibility of the orange material.

Maryland

The Maryland Natural Resources Code (10-418) requires most hunters in the Old Line State to wear at least 250 square inches of daylight-fluorescent blaze orange or blaze pink on an upper-body garment (vest or jacket), plus a hat of the same color. This statute does not apply to bowhunters during archery season.

Massachusetts

Deer hunters in Massachusetts must follow the regulations outlined in the Massachusetts General Laws (Title XIX, Chapter 131, Section 71), stipulating they must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of hunting orange material. This law does not apply to waterfowl hunters operating from a blind or a boat.

Michigan

The Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL 324.40116) require all hunters operating during daylight shooting hours between August 15 and April 30 to wear a hunting orange cap, hat, vest, jacket, or rain gear. Exceptions apply to deer bowhunters during archery season, bear bowhunters, falconers, or individuals hunting coyotes, foxes, or bobcats.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Statutes regarding hunting regulations (97B.071 MN) state deer hunters and trappers must wear two blaze orange or blaze pink garments. One must be a head covering like an orange reflective safari hat, while the other must be an upper body garment such as a jacket, vest, or shirt. Camo-patterned fabric is allowed if at least 50% of the material is hunting orange or blaze pink.

Mississippi

The Mississippi Code (49-7-31.1) required all deer hunters, regardless of weapon, to wear at least 500 square inches of solid daylight-fluorescent safety orange visible from all sides, unless in the following cases:

  • Hunters posted on tree stands at least 12 feet from the ground
  • Hunters in fully enclosed blinds

Missouri

In Missouri, the Revised Statutes (252.041) require firearm deer hunters to wear a daylight-fluorescent orange head covering (cap or hat) and an upper body garment like a shirt, vest, or coat. The orange material must be visible from all directions.

Montana

The Montana Code Annotated (MCA 87-6-414) prohibits individuals from hunting any big game animals in the state unless they wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange material, visible at all times and from all directions. This statute also applies to guides, outfitters, and assistants.

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Nebraska

According to the Nebraska Revised Statutes (37-527), individuals hunting deer, antelope, wild turkey, elk, or mountain sheep with a legally compliant firearm must wear at least 400 square inches of hunting orange fabric. The orange material must cover the head, chest, and back. This statute does not apply to archery hunters during non-centerfire season.

Nevada

The Silver State has no laws or regulations requiring hunters to wear blaze orange gear. However, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) strongly recommends its use.

New Hampshire

Like in Nevada, New Hampshire imposes no legal requirement to wear safety orange. However, the New Hampshire Fish and Game agency strongly recommends its use.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Statutes (NJ 23:4-13.1) require people hunting deer, hare, rabbit, squirrel, fox, and non-waterfowl game birds with firearms to wear at least 200 square inches of hunter orange fabric. The material must be daylight-fluorescent and visible from all sides.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, hunters are not obligated to wear blaze orange except when operating on military property or, for rifle hunters only, in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

In the latter cases, the New Mexico National Park Service requires a minimum of 244 square inches of hunting orange material.

New York

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), all people hunting deer or bear with a firearm and any accompanying persons must wear one of the following:

  • An upper body garment with at least 250 square inches of solid or camouflage-patterned blaze orange or fluorescent pink, visible from all directions
  • A hat, cap, or head covering at least 50% solid blaze orange or fluorescent pink (no camo patterns), visible from all directions

Although hunters that do not meet these conditions are not obligated to wear blaze orange, the agency strongly recommends its use in all circumstances.

North Carolina

The North Carolina General Statutes (113-291.8) state that hunters must wear a head covering or an outer upper body garment made of a fluorescent hunting orange material, except in the following situations:

  • People hunting fox, bobcat, raccoon, opossum, or upland game birds other than turkey
  • Landholders and their immediate family hunting on their own private land

North Dakota

Big game hunters in the Peace Garden State must follow the regulations outlined in the North Dakota Century Code (20.1-05-06), which require a minimum of 400 square inches of blaze orange material on both a hat and an upper-body garment. The statute does not apply to bowhunters during archery season.

Ohio

According to the Ohio Revised Code (1501:31-15-11 (7)), it is unlawful for hunters to hunt any game during deer firearm season or deer muzzleloading season without wearing at least one upper-body garment in hunter orange, including a vest, jacket, or coveralls. The law specifies that both solid and camouflage-patterned orange items like a camouflage hunting vest are legal in Ohio.

Oklahoma

Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes (29-5-205) specifies minimum blaze orange requirements for hunters in the Sooner State. According to the law, deer and elk hunters using legal firearms must wear a head covering and an upper-body garment totaling at least 500 square inches of fabric, at least 400 of which must be a fluorescent orange color.

Oregon

Oregon generally does not require firearm hunters to wear blaze orange. However, a law passed in 2011 requires firearm hunters aged 17 or less to wear a blaze orange upper body garment (shirt, jacket, coat, vest, sweater) or head covering (hat, cap, bandana) visible from all directions.

Pennsylvania

Hunters in the Keystone State must follow the rules in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (34 P.a. CS 2524). The statute specifies that any deer, bear, or woodchuck hunter must wear at least 250 square inches of daylight-fluorescent orange material visible from all directions. This statute generally does not apply to hunters using bows and arrows or muzzleloading firearms, although other local laws may apply.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, the Code of Regulations (250-100-00-1.23 H) requires all hunters to meet minimum blaze orange requirements throughout the entire hunting season. Hunters must wear one of the following:

  • A hat with at least 200 square inches of solid hunter orange material, visible from all directions
  • A combination of hat and vest totaling 500 square inches of solid hunter orange material, visible from all directions

Camouflage blaze orange is not allowed, and numerous additional conditions, restrictions, and exemptions apply. Check the Code for a complete list.

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South Carolina

According to the South Carolina Code of Laws (50-11-365), blaze orange is only required for hunters operating on Wildlife Management Area (WMA) lands. In this case, all hunters, accompanying individuals, and other nonexempt people must wear either a hat, coat, or vest in blaze orange.

South Dakota

According to the South Dakota Codified Laws (41-8-41), people hunting big game with firearms other than turkey or mountain lions are required to wear at least one fluorescent orange garment, which may either be a head covering (hat or cap) or upper body clothing (shirt, jacket, vest, coveralls, or poncho).

Tennessee

Hunters in Tennessee must follow the regulations outlined in Title 70 of the Tennessee Code (70-4-124). The law stipulates that any firearm big game hunter must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight-fluorescent orange material, spread between the head and the upper body and visible from the front and back. This regulation does not apply to turkey hunters.

Texas

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), wearing blaze orange is only required for firearm hunters operating during daylight hours on public hunting lands, including national parks, state forests, and publicly-managed grasslands.

In these cases, hunters must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of blaze orange spread between the upper body and the head, including a minimum of 144 square inches on both the chest and the back. Additionally, these requirements do not apply to people hunting desert bighorn sheep, turkey, migratory birds, or alligators.

Utah

The Utah Code (23-20-31) requires all big game hunters to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material. Exceptions apply to hunters with bows and muzzleloading firearms and people hunting mountain goats, bison, moose, or bighorn sheep. The local Wildlife Board may impose additional rules and exceptions.

Vermont

Although Vermont laws do not require hunters to wear blaze orange, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department regularly urges hunters in the state to do so.

Virginia

According to the Code of Virginia (29.1-530.1), solid blaze orange or blaze pink clothes are required during the firearms deer season (excluding muzzleloading season). Hunters may choose between wearing a head covering or an upper body garment. In the latter case, the clothing must feature at least 100 square inches of orange or pink material, visible from all directions at shoulder level or above.

Washington

The Washington Annotated Code (WAC 220-414-080) requires all hunters in the state to wear at least 400 square inches of daylight-fluorescent blaze orange or blaze pink in the following circumstances:

  • Hunting upland birds and rabbits with a non-muzzleloading firearm
  • Hunting big game, excluding bear and cougar, with modern firearms
  • Hunting any wildlife, excluding migratory birds, during the modern firearm deer and elk seasons.

The Washington statute is unique for explicitly allowing hunters to wear a combination of approved orange and pink colors to reach the minimum number of square inches.

West Virginia

According to the West Virginia Code (WV 20-2-60), all hunters, whether operating on public or private lands, must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of daylight-fluorescent orange material during the firearm and muzzleloading deer seasons.

The only exception to this statute applies to landowners engaged in agricultural activities on their own property.

Wisconsin

According to the Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations (WI Stat 29.301(2)), it is unlawful for hunters to wear less than 50% of blaze orange or blaze pink during the firearm deer season, regardless of the game they are hunting. The orange or pink material must include a head covering.

Wyoming

Hunters in the Cowboy State must follow the regulations outlined in the Wyoming Statutes (23-3-113), which require the use of at least one fluorescent orange or pink garment, including a hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest, or sweater. This statute does not apply to hunters with bows or crossbows during designated archery seasons.

Be a Safe and Knowledgeable Hunter with 360 USA

Knowing when blaze orange is required for hunters can be difficult because of how the laws differ by state, but no matter where you are, 360 USA can help outfit you. 360 USA manufactures a selection of high-visibility clothing designed to be as durable and functional as possible in many applications, from construction sites to hunting lands.

Our safety vests, hats, and harnesses are designed to provide a high level of visibility and light reflection without hindering mobility or breaking the bank. Contact us today for more information regarding our products.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>