Montana is considering a bill that would allow hunters to wear fluorescent pink instead of blaza orange. If enacted, The Treasure State would join Wisconsin, New York, Colorado and Louisiana in allowing hunters to think pink instead of blaze orange. As RF knows, I detest pink . . .

Naturally, TTAG’s publisher assigned me the task of donning the color during one of my hunts. After putting up a fight, I used the assignment as an opportunity to find out where pink failed me in my life. As you can imagine, it was no surprise that this cookie would crumble.  

Ariat International sent me their latest ladies line in hot leaf camo. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk out of my cabin wearing the hot pink camo suit. I was worried that hunting guide Matt Telveke, my brother from another mother, would laugh at me — to the point where I’d have to punch him in the face.  

Being the daring, fearless creature that I am, I emerged from my cabin a hot pink mess. I felt like I was walking out naked. Like every one in the vicinity –including the deer — was staring at me. And not in a good way.

Matt’s first reaction to the sight of my pink clad self was . . . wow. Not WOW. Wow. Like WTF, you’re wearing that?

I feel obliged to point out that Ariat clothing’s is high quality and lightweight. Their materials and assembly technology makes the hunting experience comfortable, no matter what the weather.

No matter what the color? That’s like saying a pink Ferrari is just as fast as a red one. Which it is and so what?

Personally, I LOVE blaze orange. Not just because I feel safer wearing it. Also because it sets off my favorite camo patterns. I know some of you may consider that statement way too “girly.” Hunting is about fatality, not fashion, right?

First, don’t tell me that guy hunters don’t consider style when choosing their hunting clothes. (I’m willing to bet they sneak a peek at themselves in the mirror before they head-out to kill animals in their favorite “grunge” outfits.) As Polonius pointed out, “apparel oft proclaims the man.” You guys know it’s true, and dress accordingly. 

Second, it’s all about attitude. Wearing pink made me feel less empowered and overly feminine for the situation. I’m not saying that being feminine while hunting is a bad thing; I know many ladies wearing pink will slay it in the field. It’s a personal choice.

Just not my choice.

When I hunt, I put my femininity to one side and put my game face on. For me, hunting’s not about being feminine or manly. It’s about being professional; making sure I do my job and perform a clean, ethical kill. Any distraction, physical or mental, is unwelcome. 

As for the safety aspect — you knew I’d get there eventually — I have serious qualms about pink camo. 

“Experts” say fluorescent pink is just as visible as blaze orange. I disagree.

For one thing, hunters are trained to be alert to blaze orange. A shooting decision can happen in a second; hunters are aware that blaze orange means no-go. As very few women will opt for pink camo (in my opinion), the learning curve for recognition is both unnecessary and dangerous.

For another, around 10 percent of males have some form of red-green color blindness. They have trouble seeing or don’t see any fluorescent color. As a lighter color, orange appears brighter to them than pink.

Setting aside safety, female hunters should wear whatever approved hunting color makes them comfortable, and do it unapologetically.

I understand why some women feel that lawmakers OK’ing pink camo is sexist condescension. But I don’t see the option as a feminist issue. Nor do I apologize for not feeling comfortable in pink camo.

At the end of the day, at the end of a hunt, if I had to walk into a room wearing pink with a bunch of hunters NOT wearing pink, I’m pretty sure the bottom line wouldn’t be what I was wearing, but how successful I was as a hunter.

I like the idea of pink camo: a girly color that gives women the chance to defy stereotypes and show that they can get the job done, no matter what they’re wearing. In practice, it’s not for me.

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60 Responses to Liberte Austin: Pink Camo Is Not For Me

  1. I would wear all pink in a second if it was legal in MI. It is far more difficult for a whitetail’s eyes to pick up the color pink. It has been described to me by biologists as a de facto Predator suit against them.

    • The Michigan Legislature approved, and the Governor signed, a hunter pink bill [now MCL 324.40116(5)(b)] in December 2016. The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has until October 1st to approve or disapprove hunter pink in the Michigan Wildlife Conservation Order.

    • Hmm … this is interesting. Maybe even a reason for men to wear pink camo when hunting. But some more context is needed, what colors do deer see well, or, seem bright to them?

  2. Well, dear, thanx for taking one for the team. In the most pathetic way possible, the point of that pink crap is to get the ladies out into the field to begin with – perhaps hoping they’ll outgrow it and get real camo AFTER the hunting bug has bitten deep. So… good job.

    • I don’t understand women that wear pink… When I was a kid I wanted to be just like my brother

  3. Like commenter bobinmi above, I would wear florescent pink camo if legal because it is absolutely INVISIBLE to deer.

    Deer can see ultraviolet, purple, blue, green, and yellow. As it turns out, they see orange as pale yellow because they lack red cones in their eyes. The only problem with that: most of the time there is NOTHING yellow in their habitat. So, even pale yellow sticks out like a sore thumb. And that is why I have had deer bust me from 200 yards away when I was wearing nothing more than an orange hat and had been motionless for over an hour.

    We know from our childhood painting days that pink is a combination of white and red. We also know that gray is a combination of white and black. Since deer cannot see red and it appears as black to them, pink therefore appears as gray to deer … which just happens to be arguably the most natural and common color in their habitat. When you have a camo pattern that provides various colors of tan, olive, mint, green, and GRAY, you have an outstanding pattern that deer will not be able to discern from their surroundings.

    • Clarification:
      “… when I was wearing nothing more than an orange hat …”
      I meant that the only hunter orange which I was wearing was an orange hat. I had quality camouflage clothing (with no orange) on the rest of my body. I was not, I repeat, NOT standing outside in my birthday suit hunting deer.

    • They will bust the orange hat. One of the many perks of hunting on one’s own property in Tennessee is you don’t have to wear the blaze. I keep it in my pack in case I need to be found, and sometimes put it on when I move around if I have guests hunting, but never wear it on stand.

      • Rods and cones in their (the deer, not humans) eyes. Probably some other science stuff too. Google “deer rods and cones.” My first screen was full of hits on deer’s vision.

  4. I’m glad you made the comment about color blindness. I am red green color deficient and fluorescent pink looks grey to me. I can see orange just fine though.

    • Right? I had no idea all this time that the pink color in the camo was supposed to glow like the orange does. It always looks like dirty khaki and I’d never be able to see it in the woods.

      Oh, this disability! Where are our marches? When will society bend to our whims? Who are our lobbyists?

      • The marches will come after you shoot a couple of lady hunters in fashionable pink camo. Sadly, they still won’t be your marches.

    • Ben and Shire-man,

      Does orange look like yellow to you? If that is the case, I am concerned about how well you would pick out hunter orange among yellow and orange Autumn foliage.

      Against gray and brown backgrounds, I imagine you spot hunter orange (which I think looks like yellow to you) quite well. Of course if “hunter pink” looks like gray to you, you would have a really hard time picking that out against gray and brown backgrounds.

      • I personally can’t see it when the leaves are at their brightest. Not without really trying and staring I can’t.

    • yup, red/green as well, I can “see” the pink but it does not stand out much to my eyes. blaze orange on the other hand pops out quite well.

  5. The possible color-blindness element was the only thing I pulled out of this that didn’t translate to “different people like different colors”

  6. I support the choice to legalize blaze pink. While I do lament that the firearms and outdoor recreation industry seems to think that making things pink will draw more women, in this case, pink actually seems to be better than orange. Deer are colorblind in the red spectrum, but can see yellow (this is why the neon chartreuse that humans use for road safety isn’t used for hunting); because orange is essentially half-yellow, it appears somewhat bright to them. Pink, however, is firmly in the red spectrum, and isn’t as visible. In addition, it can be argued that Fall foliage naturally comprises shades of orange, and blaze pink would stand out even more to other hunters. The colorblindness point is a valid one, but there are far more deer that can spot orange than hunters who can’t see pink. Hunters who can’t identify what they’re shooting at shouldn’t be hunting at all. It may or may not be an offensive marketing scheme, but pink camouflage actually serves a purpose. I’m not sure I would ever wear pink in the field, but I most definitely support the choice to do so. Also, fun fact: in the early 20th century, pink was considered to be a boy’s color, and blue was considered a girl’s color. Pink was bold and loud, while blue is calm.

  7. In my previous comment, I stated why pink camouflage is vastly superior to orange camouflage in terms of hiding us from deer. The interesting question, as Liberte mentioned, is how well pink protects hunters from other hunters.

    When trees are in full color in Fall, there can be a LOT of bright orange in the natural environment and “hunter orange” does not always stand out against the environment. Of course there is never pink foliage and wearing “hunter pink” would be far more recognizable than “hunter orange” in all conditions. That is if every hunter has full color vision. However, some percentage of hunters have some level of color-blindness. How they well they discern pink versus orange and which would provide a net gain in hunter safety: I have no idea.

  8. Virginia’s General Assembly just legalized hot pink here. We’ll see if McAuliffe signs it or veto it, as he’s done every other pro-gun bill.

  9. Seems to me most of the objections to pink are cultural, while the safety considerations are moot, and the camouflage aspect is beneficial when compared to orange. Pink has been associated as a masculine color at various times in history, who knows maybe that might come around again or maybe it will become dissociated with gender if it helps put more deer on the ground.

    • I guess that says a lot about my upbringing… I come from a southern baptist family where BLUE was for boys and PINK for girls… I guess you can guess the rest after I said BAPTIST

  10. Meh. Seems like much ado about nothing. Even the color blindness angle seems overplayed. People do hunt on all kinds of land, some of it public, but in Texas, it’s mostly done on commercial leases or on your own land. Access to either is limited, so I wouldn’t worry too much about stray hunters traipsing about.

    Besides, yes, there are some serious hunters out there, sneaking around the forest Natty Bumppo-style; but they’re the minority. Most are just going to waddle up the blind, tear open a jumbo bag of pork rinds, and plant it for the day. If someone wants to take a shot at a pink/gray-looking “deer” sitting ten feet in the air, well, that was probably going to happen, anyway, regardless the color.

    If the hot pink look is your style, then rock it out.

  11. Look for me (I will not be wearing it), but I don’t like it for one reason. Any shade of pink is harder for me to see particularly after it’s been worn a few times (some of the pop factor of the pink wears off with normal wear and tear) and in low light (like dawn or dusk).

    To me that’s a serious safety issue particularly on say public lands where I can’t be sure exactly who else may be out there.

  12. How about people just where what the heck they want and the rest of us stop worrying about other people’s outfits? My grandfather hunted in brown plaid right up until he couldn’t hunt anymore. This was well after the advent of “real camo.” He thought it was ridiculous that people would get worked up over it.
    I wear camo, but during deer season I keep my orange flannel handy just in case an opportunity to hunt comes up, as a token memorial to Grandpa.

  13. Most people would agree that murder is bad. So how does anybody justify blasting away at something they cannot plainly identify as a game animal, let alone a human being, regardless of what color it is? Why isn’t blasting into the bushes just as much of a crime as driving drunk?

  14. I don’t much care about pink vs orange. I see that as a personal preference thing.

    I will however say this on the topic of safety: If a hunter is dumb/drunk enough to shoot before positively identifying their target you’re not going to be saved by wearing a specific color.

    If someone raises a rifle and points it at movement or noise or anything else while they’re hunting before visually identifying that it’s a legit target I don’t want them within 10 miles of me. If I was walking in any color and someone was like “Damn man I almost shot you!” and admitted to having pointed their rifle at me while doing this I would seriously consider using the stock of my rifle to give them some free dental work.

    • Agreed. Btw, that is called taking a “sound shot”. Go to a bar in New York state and you’ll find all the city hunters who brag about them.

      Like riding a motorcycle, hunting near other hunters entails some risk, regardless of how much you gear up.

    • Yes, agreed too many times we are dealing with incompetent hunters that feel they are above common safety practices.

    • True, I always get anxiety when I’m hunting in an area I know other hunters are… hell they don’t even have to have me in their scopes to F it up if they are a bad shot

  15. Idk I’ve been going to bars in NYS for over 40 years , never once heard anyone talk about taking ” sound shots”. As far as ” city hunters ” any problems we’ve ever had were with “locals “. Wifes family owns a few thousand acres of farm land .

  16. What’s next? Zombie green? Enough companies have been making zombie green gun stuff for so long that it might finally become useful innawoods…

  17. I remember when hunters wore plaid and managed to go tramping through the woods without mowing each other down.

  18. I’d love to see a list of states that actually requires Blaze colors while hunting. Seems a very odd east coast/midwest fetish. I’ve never lived anywhere where it was required, but I try to avoid being east of the Rockies wherever possible.

  19. Through this entire thread I’ve been itching to tell this story but couldn’t find an appropriate place for it.

    So, here goes: I once had to paint a project car pink for… reasons (think/google “Operation Petticoat”). I got tired of explaining it and finally just settled on shouting, “IT’S NOT PINK! IT’S ‘LIGHT RED’!” any time the subject came up.

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