When it comes to hunting in Virginia, will hot pink become the new blaze orange?
When introducing the legislation on the floor of Richmond’s August upper chamber, Senator Richard Stuart said, “This just authorizes some alternative fashions for deer hunters. They’re required to wear blaze orange now. But those that prefer could wear blaze pink.”
Four states — Colorado, Louisiana, New York and Wisconsin — now allow hunters to wear fluorescent pink in addition to the traditional orange, said Jennifer Schultz, senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legislation is pending in Montana and Minnesota, though it failed in the latter state just last year. It also was rejected in Illinois and Maine in recent years. Michigan is studying whether “hunter pink” or any other colors would be effective and safe.
“I have a 13-year-old daughter who absolutely loves [hunting], probably as much as I do,” said Del. James E. Edmunds II, who proposed the Virginia bill after hearing of similar legislation in other states. “I think my daughter was intrigued by the thought of blaze pink. It may help the hunting industry. Maybe the attention it’s drawing will, perhaps, recruit more females to the sport.”
The bill cleared the General Assembly last week, and if Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signs it, Virginia hunters will have the option of sporting fluorescent pink in the woods.
“We don’t know for certain whether the introduction of blaze pink camo will encourage more women to take up hunting, but many people do, so let’s hope it’s true,” said Mike Bazinet, National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Director of Public Affairs. “The broader trend of more clothing designed and tailored for women involved in the activity is definitely here, however. Go into a Cabela’s or Bass Pro or virtually any other outdoor retailer, and you will find a wide selection of hunting apparel for women. It’s not like 20 years ago, when women hunters would have to go to the rack and pick up a men’s small in a shirt or jacket.”
But not everyone is embracing the proposed change.
“There are women who like to hunt, but it’s not about fashion,” said Senator R. Creigh Deeds. “It’s about being in the woods. And the purpose you wear a color is so somebody can see you and they don’t shoot in your direction. I mean, blaze pink — I just think it’s silly. I think it’s condescending to women.”
“I just have a hard time picturing dudes in blaze pink,” said Senator Amanda F. Chase.
“The idea of hunters dressed in pink just strikes me as flat-out silly,” said Senator Richard H. Black.