Lawmakers will be “thinking pink” at the Louisiana capitol on Wednesday when the House of Representatives considers legislation that would offer hunters across the state the option of wearing blaze pink instead of traditional hunter’s orange.
House Bill 179, sponsored by Rep. Malinda White (D-Bogalusa), sailed through the Committee on Natural Resources and Environment last week, and she’s expecting a favorable reception in the House, as well.
Representatives with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee (Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette) approached White about carrying the bill.
“After looking at it and seeing what Wisconsin had done — they’re the first state to implement this — they showed studies where fluorescent pink actually shows up better against the fall foliage than hunter’s orange, so I had no problem…,” White said. “It’s still a safety requirement — the law is the same — it just gives you the option for blaze pink.
“We’re hoping that we’re the second state to put this into law.”
Currently, Louisiana law requires any person hunting any wildlife during the open gun season to display not less than 400 square inches of hunter’s orange, or on privately owned, legally posted land, a hunter’s orange cap can be worn as an alternative to the square-inch requirement.
The legislation simply offers blaze pink — described as a "daylight fluorescent pink color" — as an alternative.
White, an avid hunter who belongs to the L & L Hunting Club in Washington Parish, said she hopes the bill starts conversations that will ultimately get more people participating in sports like hunting and fishing.
“I am a hunter, and in all the years of hunting, there was a time when I had to go to the boy’s department to buy camouflage,” she said. “I’m hoping that maybe younger women will be encouraged to get involved in the outdoors.”
White said her dad took her squirrel hunting as a child, but she really became interested in deer hunting when she married her husband. Her biggest buck to date is a 9-pointer, which she got mounted.
“I love it. I could sit in the stand all day,” White said. “I prefer the morning, and I prefer freezing cold. I haven’t gotten into archery. I’d like to do that, but I don’t like it when you’re swatting mosquitos and hunting — the colder the better.
“It’s very seldom when you have that moment to cross paths with those animals. It’s incredible to me.”
White said she and her staff prepared pink and camo lapel ribbons, which will be distributed to all House members on Wednesday. If the legislation passes the House and successfully moves through the Senate, it will then head to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk to be signed into law.
“We're going to have some fun with it. It's a fun bill, really. I don’t expect it to have any problems, especially with Wildlife and Fisheries behind it,” she said. “It’s not going to cost the state any money, and it will only create interest. And anytime we can get anybody outdoors, it’s a good thing.”
Although many of her male colleagues in the House say they’re not particularly big fans of hunting in pink, White said their business attire indicates otherwise.
“They say they won’t wear it, but I see a lot of pink ties and pink shirts around this House,” she said with a laugh. “I have yet to see a fluorescent orange tie here, but I see a lot of pink ones.”