ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State lawmakers have approved a new color to protect young hunters in forests and countryside: fluorescent pink.
A bill passed by the Assembly this week and the Senate last month would make solid or patterned pink an option for the typical fluorescent orange worn by hunters. Either expanse of protective color would be required for licensed deer or bear hunters who are 14 or 15 years old and their accompanying adults.
Currently, at least half of their garments above the waist must be fluorescent orange and visible from all directions, amounting to at least 250 square inches.
Neither color particularly reveals hunters to their prey. Deer, for example, lack red-sensitive cone cells in their eyes and can’t tell red or orange from green and brown, the state Department of Environmental Conservation says.
Sponsors of the legislation say pink is meant to appeal to girls, who represent a relatively small but growing percentage of hunters. Overall, though, participation in hunting has been declining in New York state.
“By giving young hunters and those accompanying them the choice to wear fluorescent pink instead of orange, more women may be encouraged to join in this time-honored tradition,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a Hudson Valley Democrat, in her sponsor’s memo.
She noted the conclusion of a Wisconsin study that people see fluorescent pink even more distinctly than fluorescent orange.
Wisconsin approved the pink option for its required hunting wear earlier this year. Colorado followed.
A spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said his office will review the legislation.
For most adult hunters, there’s a full range of color options, though blaze orange remains the most popular.
“While not required by law, more than 80 percent of big game hunters, as well as two out of three small game hunters, wear hunter orange,” the Department of Environmental Conservation says. “Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.”