Wisconsin representatives are making a real push for getting more women interested in hunting, and this fall the woods could be filled with blaze pink hunting gear. The Badger State earlier this year became the first to legalize blaze pink as a safety color option for hunting, but the idea isn’t popular with everyone.
Sarah Ingle, president of the Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association in Wisconsin, recently told National Geographic, “We felt like it was demeaning to us.” The story added advocates for women hunters say women hunt for food, fun or empowerment — not for fashion.
Yet, Colorado, New York, Minnesota and Louisiana are also considering legislation to legalize the new hunter safety color.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library, the number of people participating in hunting and fishing has declined from 40 million in 1991 to 37 million in 2011, despite the U.S. population increasing by 24 percent during that same period.
When the bill was introduced, Wisconsin DNR data said about 10 percent of the state’s gun hunters for deer were females. However, according to Census Bureau statistics, hunting is still a very male-dominant sport.
“I feel that the legislation should have taken a deeper look into why the sport was declining,” Ingle told National Geographic. “We felt that the bill’s authors missed an opportunity to ask women who are active with hunting what they felt other women needed to attempt the sport if they were feeling hesitant.”
Ingle’s response certainly seems to be more common, but it’s not the same as everyone.
Carrie Zylka, an avid hunter who created the only female-hosted hunting podcast, Hunt, Fish, Travel told National Geographic, “I really applaud them for trying to do something to promote women in the outdoors and elicit new hunters. Honest to God, high five, man. However, I think that the money invested would have been better placed in some of the outdoor programs like Being an Outdoors Woman, because, realistically, blaze pink or blaze orange, it really doesn’t matter.”