The Problem With The New Blaze Pink…It’s Not Being Seen!

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.

Excerpt from the 2017-18 Minnesota hunting synopsis.

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.

Beware The Politician Who Wears Orange

Blaze orange has a powerful meaning to most outdoorsmen.

We all know the intended purpose is for safety’s sake, but I’m not one who takes it lightly when putting on the so-called uniform of our fall outdoor passions.   After all, the wearing of blaze orange helps to identify who we are even among a crowd of people.

Take the police officer who sits in the local dinner having breakfast.   I’d venture to guess most patrons know of their presence in the restaurant and likely pay closer attention to his/her actions.   With the wearing of the uniform comes a certain default respect, but it also carries a bunch of expectations we strive to see confirmed in our mind.

We expect that officer to be polite, an upstanding citizen in their actions, and approachable (or friendly) in their mannerisms.   We acknowledge how the badge and the uniform condition our minds to observe for behavior to confirm these preconceived notions.   It’s human nature to match what a person wears with how they are supposed to be or act.

DSC00679The same goes for hunters.   Walk into any busy dinner on a November Saturday morning in rural America and you are likely to see orange-clad hunters reliving stories of the hunt.   Good or bad, these hunters are confirming expectations in people’s minds about what they are seeing.   Are they acting proper?   Are they acting respectful?   In other words, to the non-hunting public the behavior they are witnessing is acting as the poster child, so to speak, for all the rest of us.   We get judged by the general public based on this observed behavior.

Yet, when someone wears orange we also make judgments amongst ourselves.   Take, for instance, the politician who appreciates how they need the sportsman’s vote in order to get elected to public office.   What better way than to show he/she is one of us than to don the orange garb we wear into the fields and woodlands.   Does wearing orange alone make you a sportsman?   Does a TV commercial showing clips of a politician in hunting/shooting scenarios wearing the garb make that person a sportsman?

In Minnesota we have one such candidate, who I won’t single out, who feels it necessary to show he is a hunter and shooter.   Throughout the commercial it shows various snippets of him hunting in the outdoors proudly displaying the orange.   Only problem is, the commercial appears as if it was filmed in mid-summer.   It likely was.   It’s easier to throw on some orange than it is to make the surrounding landscape appear to be the correct season.

Now, I have no idea nor do I care (the candidate is from a different voting district than me) if the politician is a legitimate sportsman.   For that matter, he likely comes from a family deeply rooted in the outdoors.   That doesn’t matter.   What matters to me, and it should matter to you, is when candidates strive to appear as someone when the overall evidence is not convincing.

Honestly, if a candidate with good morals and well-meaning ability is a sportsman I don’t care if they are Republican or Democrat alike.  What I despise, however, is someone who tries to look like me simply to get my vote when by all other measures things don’t appear to be sincere.

This fall all eligible voters throughout the country will have elections coming up in November where we are asked to make important choices.   All I am asking is don’t be fooled by outward appearances and political rhetoric.   There’s much more to being a true sportsman than buying a blaze orange coat and then looking pretty for the cameras.



Okay, so I wrote this post this morning and now this afternoon I stumble upon a picture showing the unnamed politician in my post.   Here is the picture apparently found on Twitter (and linked to from the GOP website):

Note, indeed, the politician, Rick Nolan (pictured here holding a so-called “assault weapon” that he’s gone on record supporting a ban on) is not wearing blaze orange in this photo, but he seems to proudly be holding said gun.   Worse yet, look at his finger on the trigger.   Yup, one of the quickest ways you can tell how familiar (or shall I say unfamiliar) a person is with a gun is their penchant for placing a finger on the damn trigger when it shouldn’t be there.   REAL gun folks know the finger doesn’t touch the trigger unless you are ready to shoot.   Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up and have it more obvious.