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.