As you may have heard, Wisconsin lawmakers are currently looking into expanding their blaze orange requirements for deer hunters to allow hot-pink to be worn as well. The Wisconsin’s Sportsmen’s Caucus – a bipartisan group of lawmakers – hopes the introduced legislation could encourage an even greater breakdown of the gender-divide often seen in hunting, while maintaining the safety aspect of the blaze orange rules. Females make up about 10% of the deer hunters in Wisconsin, but represent the fastest growing segment of hunters nationwide.
The idea of “blaze-pink” generates two issues that are covered by the same question – “will it work?” The first is how do deer react to hot pink and the other is how will hunters react to it.
The deer part is pretty simple. Physiologically a deer’s eye is unable to see either hot-pink or blaze orange as the unnaturally bright color that we do. They see both as more of a gray color. In fact, there are some indications that hot-pink actually blends in better to a deer than does blaze-orange. Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin explains it pretty well in this article from the Twin City Pioneer Press. The Quality Deer Management Association took a non-scientific, in-the-field approach to the question with a hot-pink deer stand.
How hunters will react to blaze-pink may be tougher to answer. First and foremost, the concern needs to remain safety for the hunter. Which is the reason for any hunter-orange regulation/law to begin with. Let’s assume that hot-pink is just as effective as blaze-orange in this endeavor. Will it get more hunters into the field?
I know many female deer hunters and because of the recent proliferation of pink guns, bows, camo, etc. I also know how many of them feel about the color. Some of them love the color, others hate it – it’s a pretty even split. Ok-ok, this is a biased sample as these ladies are already hunting. I, also, know that fans of pink come in all genders. But is a color enough to get someone to go hunting or conversely to keep them from going?
I need to be clear that this is not something Nebraska is currently considering. But, I want to know your thoughts. Will allowing blaze-pink increase the number of new hunters? And if given the choice would you wear hot-pink or blaze orange while hunting for deer?