Of every 20,000 hunters who enter the woods this fall, five will come out on stretchers. Some will have shot themselves accidentally, but most will be the victims of rifle-happy Nimrods who for a tragic split second thought that a man was a deer. Such accidents are not confined to the deer season. Most hunting casualties in Pennsylvania, for example, occur in midsummer during the woodchuck season. The back of a man's head looks very much like a woodchuck at a distance. In the light of such facts, every hunter ought to revise his thinking about protective coloration. The old stand-by of the deer hunter, red, is not the friendly color its reputation would have it be. Red looks gray at a distance or to the side of one's line of vision. But the day-glowing, fluorescent red developed by Joe and Bob Switzer of Cleveland for the Army Signal Corps shines from a distance like nothing in nature. For the huntsman in open season it provides a stoplight for his fellows which should make accidents of mistaken identity almost impossible.
Bird hunting clothes are often worn during deer season, especially in the South when dove and deer seasons overlap. Fluorescent red vest flashes "man," not "deer" to hunters within shooting range.
Green shirt is often worn by diehard hunters who think bright colors alarm animals. But animals see only shades of gray and it is movement which they see first. Any man who blends as well with his surroundings as Reginald Wescott does here in the woods near Freeport, Maine is courting suicide.
Red felt hat is a step in the right direction but by itself is not protection enough in grown-over country. Experienced woodsmen even carry red handkerchiefs and gloves, for white could mean "deer" to a hunter who has prepared himself psychologically to see a deer and who reacts before he thinks.
Red plaid outfit, popular with deer hunters everywhere, is actually poor protection in any but the best conditions of bright light and open cover. Fluorescent red is four times more visible than ordinary red and does not look gray at extreme distances. One man in red was shot for a fox.
Fluorescent red vest shines brightly in early morning, late evening, or during overcast—times of most accidental shootings. Vest costs $1.90. Caps are also available. Cloth is not as "silent" as that used in most hunting wear, is therefore not made into jackets. All clothes from L. L. Bean, Freeport, Me.