So, last Saturday I went shopping for some new hunting gear. On the list was a jacket sporting the new BLAZE PINK look which is now allowed in Minnesota as an alternative to the ever-recognizable BLAZE ORANGE. No…don’t be silly…it wasn’t for me, rather it is for my 9-y/o daughter who loves hunting with daddy and also just happens to like wearing pink.
Now, to be honest, the fluorescent pink hunting wear craze is not something nationwide. In fact, according to my quick scan on Google it appears there are only 4 states (Wisconsin, New York, Colorado and now Minnesota) that even allow it as a safety color to be worn during the hunting seasons. Yet, I suspect more states will be added in the years to come.
One problem I am seeing is there does not appear to be a legal standard for Blaze Pink. At least with orange there was a daylight fluorescent orange (usually under the brand name Ten Mile Cloth-trademarked since 2004) that had certain characteristics for brightness as could be measured on the nanometer light scale. With pink, well…at least with what I’m seeing…the cloth coloration appears to be all over the board. Nothing appears standard, at least from the limited selection I have inspected first-hand.
Well, discussing the legalities of what constitutes LEGAL Blaze Pink is going to vary from state to state and my guess is it will be left largely up to the eye of the beholder. At least at this point, however, much of this is rather moot.
The real trouble with Blaze Pink here during Minnesota’s inaugural hunting season allowing it appears to be availability. Maybe even familiarity. Case in point…here is how the discussion went at my local Cabela’s store in Owatonna, Minnesota last Saturday:
Cabela’s Employee: “Can I help you, sir?”
Me: “Yes, can you point me in the direction of your Blaze PINK hunting clothing…I would like to buy some for my daughter for this fall’s deer hunt.”
Employee: <slight pause…while employee looks at another employee standing with him> “All we really have is that pink camo over on that display.”
Me: “Oh, yes, I see that…but the pink camo is not Blaze Pink so that is not a legal option for safety. You guys do know that the Minnesota legislature approved Blaze Pink as a legal option for hunting this fall, don’t you?”
Employee: <by this time two more employees were walking by> “Hey, Roger(not his real name)…do we carry any Blaze Pink?” <Roger looked confused and simply replied> “If we had anything it would be in this area.”
At this point I thanked the staff and walked away. To be honest, these employees seemed oblivious to what I was asking of them. I concluded how Cabela’s is a big chain store where I assume most of the buying decisions are made at corporate located several states away from Minnesota. The bottom line is my impression was that, at least for Cabela’s, Blaze Pink was not even on the retail radar with only 35 days out from Minnesota’s Firearms Deer Hunting Opener.
Okay, so not to pick on Cabela’s as they were not alone. I contacted the Scheel’s store in Rochester, Minnesota and asked about their Blaze Pink options. There I spoke with a buyer who admitted they do not currently have any options in their store, either. They have some on order…but do not know when it will be in stock. For sure not this week…he was hopeful for next week, but could not confirm exactly when.
The few other small stores I checked with did not have any Blaze Pink options, as I suspected. Now, one store that did have Blaze Pink was the Fleet Farm chain of stores. Much to their credit, being based in Wisconsin I suspect that Blaze Pink being legal in that state has brought it on the radar for their buyers for some time now. So, not all hope was lost.
Now, I’m sure there are some folks who will debate the value of Blaze Pink vs. Blaze Orange. Personally, I am not one of those individuals who really cares…orange or pink…whichever color makes you happy just wear it. Honestly, I like pink in the woods. When I use flagging material to mark trails I always prefer pink. To me it just seems to stand out better with the vibrant fall colors. I’m sure that as time goes on…Blaze Pink will be commonly accepted(and available) just like the more traditional orange.
If allowing Blaze Pink helps to enable more females to get outdoors and to enjoy hunting…well, then I am all for it. I’m sure by next fall many more stores here in Minnesota will jump on the retail bandwagon by making sure they have items for sale. I’m just surprised this year how many local sporting goods stores were seemingly caught off-guard with absolutely nothing Blaze Pink for sale. That will change.
I think in time the sale of Blaze Pink could come close to rivaling Blaze Orange sales. I hope so, anyways. Because seeing more Blaze Pink in the woods would be a good barometer, of sorts, for the gender health of our hunting sport. Retailers time to wake up and watch it happen.