States Look to Legalize Neon Pink Hunting Gear: Could the Fluorescent Shade be Safer Than Orange?

by Joe Rutland

For years, hunters have been used to wearing camouflage or orange out into the field. Now there’s action to add neon pink hunting gear.

But a question arises in the face of this push: Would this neon pink shade be safer than orange? States and case studies are warming up to the idea.

A number of states are joining the push for neon pink in the great outdoors. Last April, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill giving hunters license to wear fluorescent pink instead of blaze orange. That made Washington another state to do so. Wisconsin was the first in 2016. Right now, 14 states allow the usage of neon pink instead of orange.

The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate with Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, as the primary sponsor. She said after her breast cancer diagnosis, her husband Tracy decided to wear “breast cancer pink” while hunting.

“He mentioned when he came back how the pink really stood out from the fall colors in a way that blaze orange doesn’t,” she says.

Now Washington hunters will have the option. Under current regulations, hunters are required to wear a minimum of 400 square inches of fluorescent orange material — above the waist, visible from all sides — while under conditions that require safety colors. That is for their hunting gear requirements.

In brief, these safety requirements apply to any hunters present in areas where people are hunting elk and deer during modern firearms seasons. It also applies to hunters in areas with anyone hunting “upland birds,” like pheasants or quails.

Study Shows Neon Pink Hunting Gear Works Well

According to a brief titled “Blaze Pink as a Safe Hunting Clothing Option” from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it could prevent accidental shootings.

The brief states that men might resist wearing pink because the color is not perceived as a “macho” color, “we hope that hunters would consider wearing any color that significantly reduces their chances of getting shot accidentally.”

“Making a hunter easily seen poses a basic challenge to successful hunting as deer hunting requires hunters to conceal themselves,” the brief states. “Deer’s eyes can detect slight movements far better than human eyes can.

“And, while deer hearing isn’t much better than that of humans, their ears articulate like satellite dishes that tip back and forth and roll around to pick up and lock onto various sounds. Therefore, hunters should ideally be invisible, odorless, and quiet.”

Additionally, it’s known that blaze orange provides a contrast in wooded areas during spring and summer times. In the fall, though, with the leaves, observers indicated it was harder to detect than the pink colors that were tested. The hunting gear could be facing a big change.

North Dakota Seeks To Join Neon Pink Team

Hunters are used to wearing camouflage or fluorescent orange in the field. There is a move to add fluorescent pink in North Dakota.

North Dakota allows big-game hunters to wear those familiar colors. With the new legislation, that state could join the list to allow the color scheme for hunters.

Current state law reads that big-game hunters need to wear a fluorescent orange head covering and above-the-waist garment. All of it must total at least 400 square inches for their hunting gear. If it doesn’t meet the measurements, then a person faces a $50 fine.

Right now, Sen. Kristin Roers, R-Fargo, is the primary sponsor of the bill in the North Dakota legislature. She’s supporting it after realizing that lots of hunting clothes made for women are pink.

Roers said, “If the only option for me to buy a female cut is to wear pink, and if that’s what the hunting clothing market is producing, you know, let’s make it possible for women who do want to hunt to do the right thing and wear something that fits.”

Her remarks come after making a trip in Fargo, North Dakota to a store and only finding hunting garments that fit her were pink.

H/T: Grand Forks Herald