Move over blaze orange, you just got competition. On Thursday, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed into law Assembly Bill 291, which would allow state hunters to wear blaze pink in place of the traditional orange garb. The bill, which was widely supported by hunters in the state, passed through both houses of the Legislature on bipartisan votes and makes Wisconsin the first state in the country to legalize fluorescent pink clothing as an alternative in satisfying the visibility requirement.Wisconsin law requires hunters to have at least half of all clothing above the waist be either blaze orange, or pink, while hunting.
The bill’s author, State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range), applauded the governor’s decision.
“This bill is simply about giving hunters the option to wear blaze pink hunting gear, which has been available to purchase but not yet legal for hunting use,” Milroy said in a statement. “Retailers and manufacturers recognized this untapped market and began promoting pink merchandise, including everything from clothing to weapons. Allowing the legal use of blaze pink will add an additional option for hunters.”
Lawmakers proposed the bill in the hopes that the new color option will draw in more women hunters. While many hunters say they will consider purchasing pink clothing, others doubt that the law will have any affect on the number of women hunters in the state. Also, not everyone is convinced that pink would be a safe alternative. Some sportsmen and women voiced concerns that pink was less visible to humans, or that it would affect the hunt in a negative way. Milroy said that pink should be just as effective as orange, if not more so.
“Safety was our first consideration. In working with expert color scientist Professor Majid Sarmadi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology, we learned that blaze pink is just as visible, if not more visible, to the human eye than blaze orange,” Milroy explained. “Additionally, we learned blaze pink is actually more difficult for deer to see than blaze orange.”
Pink camouflage also found opposition from an unexpected source: women hunters themselves. The Wisconsin Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association (WHSA) recently blasted the bill by calling it sexist and discriminatory.
“(This bill) is a half-hearted attempt to go to women and say, `Hey, I can wear pink and go out and hunt,”‘ WHSA president Sarah Ingle told the Associated Press. “That’s not what women want and not what they need.”
After the passage of the bill, the WHSA wrote on their public Facebook page that they will be shopping for camo at the men’s section in stores from now on.
Milroy however, says he is already getting calls from lawmakers in other states who are interested in introducing blaze pink bills in their own legislatures.