A hunter was shot and critically injured on private land Saturday in Huntington, Vt., by a fellow hunter who claimed to mistake the man for a bear, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department said.

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At the time of the shooting, none of the parties involved were wearing blaze orange gear, which hunters are encouraged to wear.

The man was walking to a tree stand in a wooded area off Main Road when he was hit in the abdomen by a single round, officials said.

Authorities said the wounded hunter was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition Sunday. 

Hunter safety experts say that mistaken-for-game shootings happen occasionally, but are preventable if hunters take some basic precautions.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife added, 

“Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities, thanks to advances in education as well as science,” said Vermont Hunter Education Program Coordinator Nicole Meier. 

“Our volunteer hunter education instructors stress that wearing orange during hunting season is important, and studies prove that wearing fluorescent hunter orange keeps hunters visible to other people in the woods, but it keeps them relatively invisible to deer.” 

“Every year we should strive to be the safest we can be by wearing at least a hunter orange hat and vest,” she added.

The time that deer are most active, during the dawn and dusk hours, are times of especially low visibility.  You can improve your chances of being seen by other hunters by wearing hunter orange, which can be seen even in low-light situations.

 While some hunters might be concerned that deer are scared by hunter orange, in fact deer have been shown to be unaffected by the color. 

A deer’s vision is based on movement, patterns and color variations.  Unlike humans, deer do not have multiple color receptors in their eyes.  They can see color, but their spectrum is limited. 

This means deer must rely heavily on their ability to detect movement over the ability to interpret color variations and patterns.

May be time to make blaze orange your new favorite color.