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Hot Pink the New Hunter Orange?

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.

A new color for deer hunting? (altered photo)
A new color for deer hunting? (altered photo)

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.

Future deer hunters? (altered photo)
Future deer hunters? (altered photo)

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?

Are more options needed?
Are more options needed?

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?


About Aaron Hershberger

Aaron "hershy" Hershberger is an Outdoor Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He loves being outdoors. When not outdoors he is day-dreaming about being outdoors and/or whining that he is not outdoors. Hershy has been a Hunter Education Instructor, in two states, for nearly three decades & a Bowhunter Education Instructor for over 20 years.

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