Maine Amish Hunters Can Now Wear Red (Instead Of Orange)

From the Bangor Daily News:

Despite a very divided vote by the legislature’s IFW Committee, the state’s Amish hunters won the right to wear red instead of orange while deer hunting in Maine.

LD 426 was sponsored by Representative McCrea of Fort Fairfield, who was joined at the hearing by several young Amish men who testified that their religion forbid them from wearing orange because it is “too flashy.”

The amended bill, which won the support of 7 IFW Committee members while being opposed by 5 members, provides that a person with a religious opposition to wearing hunter orange may substitute articles of bright red clothing for the required articles of hunter orange clothing. The term “bright” was added to the original bill.

This resolves a conflict which has been going on for some time in the Pine Tree State.

Amish hunters in Ohio

Many Amish do use bright colors to draw attention to themselves in special situations (when hunting, or in cases such as children walking or scootering to and from school, where bright yellow safety vests are common in some larger communities).

Fort Fairfield, located in the state’s massive Aroostook County, is home to a conservative Swartzentruber Amish community (a few years back, Down East magazine featured an excellent profile of this settlement).

It might seem absurd to outsiders that red is alright where orange is not permitted, but objections over brightness of colors is nothing new for the plainest Amish.

In Swartzentruber communities, it’s a common objection to the bright orange slow-moving vehicle triangle.

Opponents of the bill voiced concerns, but for naught. One state representative called this “one of the toughest bills I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

Hopefully bright red will prove as effective as bright orange. But with hunters accustomed to watching out for a certain standardized color, that may not be the case.

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    1. JM


      Red is also the first color the human eye stops seeing in low lighting. And red-green color blindness is very common. I’m not sure how such people do with orange, since it’s similar to red but not quite the same, but I’d venture to guess that may have been a factor in choosing orange in the first place. Personally, for these reasons, I’m disappointed in this outcome. I can understand and respect the belief in not wanting to stand out etc, but sometimes I really can’t understand risking lives – not only your own but others’ – for the sake of it.

      1. JM


        To expound, I’m reminded of a game I once played, called Coup, based on a native American game. A bit like Capture the Flag. We split into 2 teams. Each team had a flag planted somewhere and had to get the other team’s flag before they got yours. It was natural terrain – woods, fields, streams, etc. And we had to sneak past each other. Most people wore natural colors. I wore my boyfriend’s camouflage fatigues. But the clever one was the lady who wore red. We thought it was silly until dusk came and we went to start the game and realized she was far more invisible than those of us in camouflage, even. So I guess I’m glad they added “bright” to this bill, but it still makes me very nervous.

        1. That’s fascinating, JM. I did not know that happens with the color red.

          I wonder if anyone involved in this case thought to test visibility while wearing red, or if the thinking was closer to “it’s the closest color to orange and less gaudy so let’s go with that.” Or maybe the “bright” language helps here, but true, what qualifies as bright..?

    2. Nobody's business.

      What color of clothing I choose to wear when hunting is my business and certainly not the business of psychopaths in government. I could choose to wear camo to hunt in, and it is the duty, and the only legitimate purpose of government to support, and to protect my right to do that, even if it may be a stupid choice. The purpose of government is to protect rights. Not to be my mommy, and to try and keep me from making poor decisions.

      Perhaps if Americans actually read, and understood the founding documents, we would not even be having this discussion because we most certainly would not even have hunting licenses or hunting seasons….neither of these “laws” have anything to do with protecting my rights.

      1. Cyndi

        Comment to Joe T


        While I believe I understand what you’re saying… Let’s say everyone chooses to ignore the safety regulation of wearing orange/red. Can you imagine what the person that shoots and kills you will go through because he couldn’t see you – or vice-versa?

        They used to say the 70s were the “Me” generation. Sadly, I think we’ve become and even bigger (read: selfish) Me generation than ever before.

        ~ C ~

    3. Kyle

      Visibility of red

      I’m in agreement with Joe T however, I’d like to add to the visibility of red. Red IS NOT the first color we can’t see in low light conditions. Tall structures such as windmills, grain elevators, etc use red lights at night so planes can see them. In the military we used red map lights at night and only due to the way the light filtered From the flashlight gave low visibility to enemies. If someone looks for red, even from a map light, they’ll see it. Many soldiers have been killed from smoking and giving away their position from a orange or red cigarette cherry.