Colorado Bow Hunters Warn of Upcoming Regulation Forcing Archers to Wear Blaze Orange

Photos by Nick Holloway and Levi Sim
(Photo: Nick Holloway/HUNT365)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is considering a new regulation that would force bow hunters in the state to wear blaze orange.

Archery hunters are currently not required to wear orange or pink, but a fatal incident this year has prompted wildlife officials to consider changing that requirement, according to the Colorado Bow Hunters Association.

The CBHA does not support changing the regulations. While they are “eager to work with CPW Staff to better educate hunters on how to be safe” during overlapping archery and muzzleloader seasons, they are calling on their members to oppose new requirements.

The CBHA also says they could support separating the archery and muzzleloader seasons, but only if it does not result in shortening archery season days.

According to the CPW, there have only been three incidents related to muzzleloaders shooting at or near archery hunters since 1996. Two of those incidents were fatal, and one of those two happened this year. A muzzleloader hunter allegedly misidentified an archery hunter as a bull elk and shot him in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area.

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To avoid similar incidents in the future, the CPW supports requiring archery deer, elk, bear and moose hunters to wear solid daylight fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink during the period of overlap during the September archery and muzzleloader seasons west of I-25 on public land only.

Other CPW options include requiring blaze orange on public and private land, separating archery and muzzleloader seasons by shortening archery season and extending muzzleloader season into October, and maintaining the status quo.

The CPW argues that neither muzzleloaders nor archers would support changing elk hunting seasons because both groups of hunters want to take advantage of the rut, when the animals are more responsive to calling and can be brought within range.

“Several solutions and recommendations have been brought to the table over the last twenty years to address this concern. However, none have been acceptable to all stakeholders,” the CPW writes.

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Requiring archers to wear the same blaze orange as firearm hunters would, the CPW claims, help keep hunters safe while avoiding the conflicts associated with changing seasons.

Bowhunters object to wearing blaze orange because they believe it would impact their ability to harvest big game. Elk can’t see orange—according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a blaze orange vest looks like a “big blob of gray” to an elk. But hunters argue that that big blog of gray makes them more noticeable, especially at distances required for archery hunting.

The next CPW Commission meeting is scheduled for January 12-13, 2022, and will be held virtually. Public comments are due by January 7th at 12p MT. Click here to learn more about contacting the Commission.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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