Hunting rules vary by state: same safety tips, different rules

(PHOTO: WCYB Archive)

Hunting season is going on now in both Virginia and Tennessee. That means it's time to brush up on hunting rules and regulations. Staying safe while hunting is important no matter which state you live in, and both Tennessee and Virginia have hunting rules and regulations. While safety tips in both states are the same, the rules do differ. One of the largest differences between the two states is the new blaze pink color; only traditional blaze orange is accepted in Tennessee, but blaze pink is now accepted in Virginia.

"Very easy to identify in the woods...bright orange and bright pink are not something you're going to see everyday just walking through the woods unless there's someone wearing it," says Virginia Conservation Police Officer Derrick Rickels.

During certain seasons in Virginia, 100 square inches of blaze color needs to be worn at about shoulder level. In Tennessee, 500 square inches must be worn.

"The vest that the hunters wear and a cap or toboggan in combination would be the requirement," says Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency public information specialist, Matt Cameron.

In both Tennessee and Virginia, a state license in addition to a season specific license is needed to hunt. License costs vary by state, age of hunter, and what is being hunted.

"You'll have to have a deer/turkey license, and then if you want to hunt bear it's another license as well. For archery, there's an archery season license, and for muzzleloader, there's a muzzleloader license," Rickels says.

Baiting during hunting season is illegal in both states.

"It's a fair game type deal. So, we want the hunters to have the best opportunity they can, but we also want to be fair and ethical," Rickels says.

Concerning safety, the experts from both states say the same thing.

"If hunters are hunting together always have the muzzle of that gun pointed in a safe direction. Have the safety on and never point the gun at anything you don't intend to shoot at," Cameron says.

Also, it's important to make sure to alert potential hunters of your presence.

"As a non-hunter, if you're not hunting, it doesn't have to be fluorescent orange, you could wear that fluorescent pink, fluorescent green, something bright," Cameron says.