Blink a couple of times and the fall hunting season will be here. So it’s time to start checking the hunting gear.
It used to be enough to check just the shotguns, rifles, ammos, knives and other stuff we need for the annual trek into the autumn woods. Not any more. Now you need to check your fashion. It is becoming necessary to be fashionable in the forest.
The clothing industry is here to help you, while of course, increasing corporate profits.
The clothing folks have a problem. They have produced too many real leaf/tree camo outfits. Almost every piece of human apparel now comes in camo. There are camo underpants. Camo thongs. Camo jock straps. Camo bras.
Almost everyone already has a camo hoody or T shirt. So the industry has been looking for other ways to sell more. They have found it in the colour pink.
The clothing lobby has been all over the politicians and they are getting what they want. Wisconsin, New York State and Louisiana will allow pink hunting clothing this fall as an alternate to blaze orange. Other states are considering doing the same.
I can hear the sewing machines whirring already, spinning out those hot pink vests, caps, gloves, jackets and pants. We already have seen pink gunstocks, pink camo bows and other pink outdoor accessories.
All this pink supposedly is about attracting more women into hunting. More women hunters means more hunting clothing and equipment sales. And, more money for governments through sales taxes and licensing fees.
Many women are not impressed. Promoting pink in hunting is sexist, they say.
“We felt like it was demeaning to us,” various media quoted Sarah Ingle, Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association president in Wisconsin. “I feel that the legislation should have taken a deeper look into why the sport was declining.”
The Wisconsin government’s time would have been better spent determining what women really need to become interested in the sport, she said.
It’s hard to argue against pink as an acceptable hunter safety colour. Fluorescent pink, or hot pink, is easily seen in the woods.
Pink certainly will not bother the deer, who are essentially colour blind. Their vision is limited to the blue-green spectrums, so blaze orange or pink does not stand out for them.
Deer do see ultraviolet, which can cause some objects to glow, or fluoresce. That’s why hunters are told not to wash their hunting clothing in detergents with brightening agents that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet region.
Allowing pink as safety colour is part of a drift toward making hunting a more upscale pastime. Urbanites are seeing it as a fit with the locavore/farm-to-table movement in which people want to grow, gather or kill their own food.
In trendy neighbourhoods of California, you’ll find a growing number of fashionable chicken coups, where more people are said to be signing up for butchering courses.
Another factor has been the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program started back in the 1990s but which has gained increasing popularity only in recent years. Many U.S. states and six provinces now have BOW inspired programs that teach shooting, hunting and handling game.
I don’t have any issues with blaze pink as a hunting colour. It doesn’t compromise safety and it’s always nice to have more choice. It is insulting, however, to say that allowing women to be pretty in pink hunters will attract more into the sport.
“That’s terribly insulting,” Peggy Farrell, national director of BOW in the U.S. was quoted in Peterson’s Hunting. “I don’t want a youth-model shotgun, and I don’t want pink on everything I wear or carry when I hunt.”
Women who hunt don’t want pink gear for hunting. They want gear and clothing that is designed for women’s bodies. Gear and clothing that fit properly an comfortably.
Malinda White, the Louisiana politician who introduced that state’s blaze pink bill, is also a hunter and says she didn't consider the concept sexist.
"It also will generate commerce - I guarantee there are sewing machines going off right now," she said.
Do you think the clothing lobbyists were whispering in her ear?