Hunters in Wisconsin may see much more pink-colored clothing in the woods next deer season. According to The Chicago Tribune, a group of state legislators is planning to announce a bill that would legalize blaze pink for deer hunters. Current state regulations state that deer hunters must have at least 50 percent of their outer garments above the waist, including hats, be colored blaze orange. If the bill is passed, pink would also satisfy that requirement.
Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of the bill, hunters are divided on their opinion of “blaze pink.” While some believe that pink may not be as readily visible—and therefore as safe—as orange, others say the color will help draw more women into the sport.
“New female hunters outnumber new male hunters three to one. With this in mind, the Sportsman’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to Wisconsin’s outdoor heritage, has been interested in legalizing blaze pink hunting clothing along with blaze orange,” wrote Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), one of the supporters of the bill, in a column for the Dunn County News.
According to Moulton, legislators spoke with Dr. Majid Sarmadi, a color expert at the University of Wisconsin, to determine whether blaze pink is as safe as blaze orange. Sarmadi found that not only was blaze pink more difficult for deer to see than blaze orange, the color is also more visible to other hunters since it is not found in nature. Moulton did not specify Sarmadi’s methodology or whether other experts have reached the same conclusion. In either case, many hunters remained unconvinced.
“I like the idea that we’re catering to the women to get them into the sport… but I’m more about safety than fashion,” Whitetails Unlimited president Jeff Schinkten told the Tribune. “My buddies aren’t going to wear any blaze pink, I can tell you that.”
Blaze orange was not always the requirement in Wisconsin. Years ago hunters were most commonly seen decked out in red. The switch to orange was made because experts believed it was more visible than red wool, and many hunters are still skeptical about the visibility of pink in dense woods. Other critics of blaze pink doubt the new requirements will attract women hunters, instead only serving to make deer season into a “fashion show.” Instead, they say that there should be more programs designed to introduce women into hunting, not what they wear.
The bill does have its supporters, and many hunters say that color is more of a personal preference.
“As a traditionalist, and a guy, I wouldn’t wear it,” hunter Chris Wagner told ABC 6, “but it gives the girls and the younger people a chance to make hunting more popular.”
You can watch an interview with Wagner below: