Opinion: New law would allow hunters to wear pink

Legislators should find better ways to spend their time

By Jessica Gray/For Montana Living

The Senate Fish and Game Committee in Montana voted 9-2 recently to introduce a bill that allows hunters the option to wear florescent pink instead of orange.
The Independent Record quoted Sen. Jennifer Fielder of Thompson Falls, Montana saying that legislators want to add a color option that’s “more attractive to the female hunters or guys who like pink.”

Well, hunting isn’t about being attractive. Wearing blaze orange is about one thing, and one thing only: hunter safety.

Since the story has broken, many of my fellow hunters have shared their opinion on this bill, and very few are positive. I have to agree. The law passed in Wisconsin, which now gives hunters the option to wear either florescent pink or orange. The main reason it was even introduced was to attract more hunters after studies have shown the decline of hunters over the past decade. The bill was directly aimed to recruit more women hunters, who make up around 10 percent of a largely male dominated sport.

As a woman hunter, I feel the idea that a switch to pink will encourage more female hunters is insulting to me. I don’t know one single female who chooses not to hunt because they think hunter orange doesn’t go well with their complexion. Women choose not to hunt for plenty of reasons, but the color they are required to wear is not one of them.

I hunt because I depend on the meat to feed my family. I also hunt because I enjoy the sport. Hunting was a tradition taught to me at an early age, one that requires skill, patience and deep respect for nature. I was taught the love for hunting by my father, who, having five daughters and no sons, felt girls were just as capable as boys.

I have no doubt that scientifically florescent pink may be just as easily seen as orange, but if it it’s not broken, why fix it?

Why spend taxpayer’s money on this type of legislation? The only people I can see benefiting from this change would be clothing manufacturers, big giants like Under Armor who stand to make a killing off the sale of new merchandise.
If we want to recruit more female hunters, let’s spend money on more hunter education or classes on weapons accuracy, including a few classes just for women in case they feel intimidated in a classroom of men.
Let’s get the word out and educate people about why more hunters are needed to control deer and elk populations. Let’s educate people that are misinformed, thinking that hunting is simply killing.

Let’s show the public how wildlife management actually helps the animal population. If nothing else, feed people an elk steak and let them taste just what they are missing.

Reach freelance writer Jessica Gray at jessicagraymt@gmail.com.

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