LANSING, MICH. - Pretty in Pink – at least in Michigan’s forests and fields, is an issue that doesn’t want to fade away.
A state lawmaker this week introduced legislation that would allow hunters to wear pink as an alternative to ‘blaze orange’ when gun hunting.
Blaze orange has been the standard-bearer for hunters since the 1970s. But the color wheel took a spin in 2016 when legislation was introduced to substitute hunter pink as an option for blaze orange.
The bill, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, defined the hue as “the highly visible color commonly referred to as hunter pink, including blaze pink, flame pink and fluorescent blaze pink.’’ Part of the bill required the Natural Resources Commission to conduct a study ensuring that the color is safe for hunting, even for people with color blindness.
In September, the Natural Resources Commission said hunters can dress in pink, but also must wear something that’s blaze orange. It must be a prominent piece of attire that’s visible in all directions, like a hat.
Under House Bill 5416, introduced on Tuesday by state Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, hunter pink is back on the table as an alternative to blaze orange. It would have to be visible from all sides of the hunter.
Although the Natural Resources Commission recommended against allowing hunter pink clothing as a substitute, Johnson said studies have since been published that say it is an acceptable and safe alternative to orange.
“I was looking at different studies that says pink is just as bright as orange,’’ Johnson said.
The option to wear pink might also encourage more people to get out and hunt, particularly women, Johnson said.
“I wouldn’t wear pink personally, but I think people should have that right,’’ he said.
Johnson's bill does not include a provision requiring the Natural Resources Commission to determine whether hunter pink or any additional colors are effective and safe for people to wear while hunting. It has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
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