If you could, would you wear pink instead of blaze orange in the deer woods next fall?
That could be the case in Wisconsin if a group of lawmakers get their way. The Legislature's sportsmen's caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators who focus on outdoor issues, is preparing to unveil a bill that would legalize blaze pink for deer hunters.
Sen. Terry Moulton, one of the caucus’s co-chairmen, wrote in a column published in the Dunn County News that the blaze pink bill is designed to encourage women to become hunters and keep them involved in the sport. Currently in Wisconsin, all hunters except waterfowlers afield during the gun deer season must have at least half of each article of clothing worn above the waist, such as jacket or a hat, colored blaze orange.
According to Wisconsin DNR data, for the past three seasons about 10 percent of the state’s gun hunters for deer have been females. They made up about a quarter of hunters between ages 10 and 12 in 2014, however, and comprised 35 percent of new gun deer license buyers last fall.
Jeff Schinkten, president of Whitetails Unlimited, said he'd never heard of legalizing blaze pink. He said he likes the idea of trying to encourage more women to become hunters but he's worried the color isn't as visible as blaze orange and could lead to shooting accidents.
“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,” Schinkten told the Dunn County News. “My buddies aren't going to wear any blaze pink, I can tell you that.”
Moulton wrote in his column that the caucus met with Majid Sarmadi, a textiles expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He said Sarmadi conducted experiments on blaze pink and blaze orange visibility and concluded that blaze pink clothing is equally visible or more visible to the human eye than blaze orange.