When hunting, keep an eye out for blaze orange and… pink?

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For those of us that hunt, or have friends or family that hunt, we know the normal color palette for going out: Some sort of camo + blaze orange clothing (be it hat or vest) is the norm.

That will soon change with the passage of the latest game and fish bill: Now hunters will be able to wear blaze pink when they are hunting as well.

Now, the reasons that came up on the floor during debate ranged from having the choice to wear it, to getting more women involved in hunting, to supporting breast cancer awareness.

(This isn’t the first time this discussion has come up; Wisconsin passed this same measure in 2015. The same line of reasoning was used, the same rhetoric, and the same comments for and against have been raised.)

This article from the Pioneer Press, published back in 2015 when blaze pink was passed in Wisconsin, describes how the Legislative Sportsman Caucaus had University of Wisconsin Professor Majid Sarmadi, an expert on the science of color, do a study between items purchased at stores in blaze pink and blaze orange.

He found that:

“The right pink and the right blaze orange… could be equally safe.” 

It is also mentioned in that article that pink may be harder for deer to see as they are color blind to red. So it may actually be better for hunters to wear, as it will be duller to deer than orange, and easier for people to see as well.

Now, full-disclosure, blaze pink being easier for people to see is true only if you are not colorblind in the red-green spectrum. There are 4 to 8 percent of the male population, and a half percent of the female population, that are color blind and would have problems seeing blaze pink in the woods if it had a more of a red hue than an orange hue. This is a safety concern, as, much like blaze orange, there is no set color standard in the bill for blaze pink.

One of the bigger issues brought up is gender stereotyping. The best way to sum this up is from this op-ed by Tracy Lynn from 2016 when Louisiana made blaze pink available for hunters to wear:

“I can tell you that my eldest daughter who is an adult now has absolutely loved pink camo since she was old enough to say the word. She got a Mossy Oak steering wheel cover and floor mats in pink camo for her birthday in April. She is, and has always been, my rough and tumble girl. And she likes pink. Did she not go hunting because she couldn’t wear it? No. Did she care? No. Will she be excited that she can now? Yes.”

The Minnesota Legislature has passed this bill allowing blaze pink to be worn, and people now have the option to continue wearing blaze orange or wear blaze pink instead. Why not?  If you are out in the woods, crossing prairies, or sitting in a duck blind, just keep an eye out for your fellow hunters whether they’re wearing orange, or pink.