State bill targets new color for hunting gear | CraigDailyPress.com

State bill targets new color for hunting gear

Pink apparel provides hunters same safety of orange, encourages women to hunt

Patrick Kelly

Melissa Hill and Lynda Filler, employees at Murdoch's Ranch & Ranch Supply in Craig, show off some of the store's pink apparel. Fluorescent pink hunting gear is now acceptable as an alternative to orange, though pink items with a camouflage pattern do not satisfy the blaze requirement for big game hunters.

Big game hunters in Colorado have a new fashion option this season.

Earlier this year, a law was passed allowing hunters to choose between traditional blaze orange or hot pink.

The state requires any person hunting elk, deer, pronghorn, moose or black bear to wear a fluorescent orange garment and now pink has been determined to be a suitable alternative.

"I thought it provided a nice way to send the message that women belong in hunting," said Colorado Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, who sponsored the bill.

Donovan said before sponsoring the bill, she wanted to ensure that bright pink was just as visible as blaze orange.

Safety is a priority for all hunters and being visible around dawn and dusk is very important, she said.

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Professor Majid Sarmadi, a color scientist at the University of Wisconsin, has studied the issue and provided testimony to several state legislatures in support of blaze pink.

In his studies, Sarmadi found that blaze pink is just as visible as orange, if not more.

In some situations, pink has even proven to be the safer option.

"Blaze pink was more visible when set by colored leaves such as the ones you see in fall," Sarmadi said.

As for the deer, pink and orange only appear as different shades of blue.

But Sarmadi stressed that although pink is a viable alternative to blaze orange — safety is still in the hands of the hunter and should be the top priority.

"No matter what you are wearing, a cautious approach is good hunting practice," he said.

For areas like Moffat County and Craig where hunting is a large economic driver, ensuring that all demographics are welcome is important, Donovan said.

"If we can encourage more women to participate in hunting, I think that would be an economic development opportunity in rural Colorado," she said

But, Donovan added that she doesn't believe letting people wear pink will necessarily mean more women hunters and the law is more of a symbolic gesture.

Tony Bohrer, owner of Elkhorn Outfitters, said he already has quite a few women who come hunt with their husbands and he thinks pink would work just as well as orange.

"Any fluorescent color is not natural in the woods," he said.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife's websiteColorado Parks and Wildlife’s website, hunters are required to wear “at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange material above the waist on an outer garment while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose during a muzzleloading or rifle season. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions. Camouflage orange does not meet this requirement.”, hunters are required to wear "at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange material above the waist on an outer garment while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose during a muzzleloading or rifle season. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions. Camouflage orange does not meet this requirement."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's website, hunters are required to wear "at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange material above the waist on an outer garment while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose during a muzzleloading or rifle season. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions. Camouflage orange does not meet this requirement."

With the new law, pink works, too.

Although it is not required, CPW recommends wearing fluorescent clothing in the field even if you are not hunting.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.