PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For anyone who enjoys state management areas and underdeveloped state parks for recreational use, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is putting out an important safety reminder.
During archery and small game season, it’s mandatory for all hikers, dog-walkers and birdwatchers to wear at least 200 square inches of solid, fluorescent orange clothing.
The DEM said it’s gotten numerous reports of people not following the rules so far this winter.
Anyone not wearing bright orange in hunting areas is putting themselves at risk of accidental shootings, the DEM said, citing data that shows that of the roughly 1,000 hunting accidents in the US and Canada each year, about 75% of the victims were not dressed properly.
“As first responders, DEM wants to prevent terrible tragedies from ever occurring,” said Dean Hoxsie, chief of the DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement.
“Wearing a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange during hunting season is mandatory, it’s not an option,” he added. “As we start 2023, we ask all users of state recreational areas to recommit to wearing the appropriate amount of bright orange clothing when using these areas. Currently, archery and small game season is open, so wearing a minimum of 200 square inches of fluorescent orange is required.”
A 20-by-25-inch orange vest or an orange hat fulfills that requirement, according to the DEM.
The DEM also noted that education programs are available to new hunters. Visit the agency’s website to learn more.