CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming has joined about a half-dozen other states that let big game hunters don pink in the field.
Gov. Matt Mead on Wednesday signed into law a bill adding fluorescent pink to the fluorescent orange now mandated statewide. The new law, which cleared the state Legislature last week, takes effect July 1 before the fall hunting season.
Most big game hunters have been required to wear blaze orange as a safety measure to help distinguish themselves from other hunters.
Sen. Affie Ellis, who sponsored the bill adding pink, said her motive for adding the color was not about providing a way for some hunters to look fashionable or “sexy” but simply to give hunters a choice that is safe during the hunting season.
“This is just a science-based bill,” Ellis, R-Cheyenne, said.
A textile expert testified that fluorescent pink is superior to blaze orange in terms of visibility to other humans during fall hunting.
“The color in the fall is usually orange and brown, and the blaze orange is camouflaging the coloring that time of the year,” said Majid Sarmadi, a textile science professor at the University of Wisconsin.
“There is nothing like that pink in the nature in the woods. Therefore, it stands out much better,” he said.
Budd Betts, a member of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association board of directors, said the organization was supportive of the new color.
“It maintains, if not enhances, safety, and it makes it a little more fun,” Betts said. “And it’s an option, not only for our women hunters, but male hunters if they want to do that.”
Officials with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department had no issues with the new color, saying they were OK with it because it meets the agency’s primary concerns of keeping hunters safe.
Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Louisiana, Colorado and Virginia have approved similar legislation in recent years. A few states, including Montana, have rejected adding a new color other than orange.