DENVER – The Colorado Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that would add pink to a list of acceptable colors to wear when hunting.
A hunter is required to wear fluorescent orange to hunt elk, deer, pronghorn, moose or black bear. The bill would add the option to wear fluorescent, or “blaze,” pink.
The House backed the bill Tuesday 58-5. It had passed the Senate, and now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.
The bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Kerry Donovan of Vail, framed the legislation as a means to attract women to the sport of hunting.
“Every hunting season I saw my brothers fit in, and I did not,” Donovan said of her bill when it was in a Senate committee. “The message was clear that hunting was for men, and it’s something that only men should do.”
But in the House, Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, who co-sponsored the bill, said her motivation was about safety.
Supporters were bolstered by a Wisconsin study that found that bright pink is just as visible as bright orange to humans, if not more so.
“I’m not a hunter, but when it comes to gun safety, hunter safety, the more we can keep people safe, the better,” Esgar said following the vote.
“I don’t think a woman is going to start hunting just because she gets to wear pink, I think that’s pretty condescending.”
Female hunters interviewed by The Durango Herald said they found the bill to be “ridiculous” and “condescending.”
Kirstie Pike, president and chief executive of Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, which specializes in field apparel for women, said her business likely won’t benefit from the legislation, because pink would be allowed for hunting only in Colorado and Wisconsin.
“It’s such a funny thing,” Pike said while on her way back to Colorado from a hunting trip in Texas. “If some woman loves the pink and that makes her happy, that’s cool. For me, as a business, no. There’s no business opportunity there whatsoever.
“I’m a hunter; I don’t need pink to identify me. I know a lot of women love it, and that’s great. Whatever makes a woman happy out there in the field is good enough for me.”
Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, was one of five lawmakers to oppose the bill in the House.
“I just don’t think we need it,” he said. “It’s a waste of our time. We spend our time on legislation like this when we really ought to be worried about jobs and the economy.”