On Feb. 4, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill allowing firearms deer hunters to wear fluorescent pink instead of blaze orange, according to an nbc15.com article. The law’s authors, Wisconsin state Reps. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, and Nick Milroy, D-South Range, say the measure is designed to attract more women to hunting and give hunters more options. Some female hunters have criticized it as being sexist.
Blaze pink has become popular in recent years thanks to an increasing number of women hunters nationwide.
"Wisconsin has historically had some of the highest participation rates in hunting ... and we've seen a decrease in this number in recent years," Milroy said in a May 26, 2015 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article. ”It's my hope that this will become universally acceptable and create revenue for some of these programs that we're talking about.”
Wisconsin sold 612,377 gun-deer licenses in 2015, up slightly from the 608,711 sold in 2014. However, the 2014 total marked the lowest number of firearms deer licenses sold since 1976.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources declined to comment on the blaze-pink law. University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Majid Sarmadi said in the Journal-Sentinel that laboratory analysis of fluorescent pink indicated humans can see blaze pink as well or better than blaze orange, making it as safe for hunting.
Brian Lovett, Realtree's news blogger, has been an outdoors reporter, writer, magazine editor and book author for 27 years. Spring turkey hunting and autumn waterfowling take up most of his outside time, but he also enjoys fishing, deer hunting and upland-bird hunting. Lovett lives in Oshkosh, Wis., with his wife, Jenny, and their retriever.