ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has authorized fluorescent pink as alternate protective coloring for young hunters in an appeal to girls who'd rather not wear blaze orange.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the law this week making solid or patterned pink optional for the typical fluorescent orange worn by hunters. The bright colors help them avoid being mistaken for game and shot.
Either color is required in New York for licensed deer or bear hunters who are 14 or 15 years old and their accompanying adults. Until now, at least half their garments above the waist had to be fluorescent orange and visible from all directions, amounting to at least 250 square inches.
According to legislative sponsors, they're trying to reverse the statewide decline in hunting and fishing and trying to encourage the small but growing segment of female hunters. They cited a University of Wisconsin study indicating the human eye picks up fluorescent or blaze pink even more distinctly than orange.
"I hope it does encourage the younger generation to get away from their cellphone and Pokemon Go," said John Havlick, owner of Frank's Gun and Tackle in Gloversville, near the southern edge of New York's Adirondack Mountains. Lowering the age where children can go hunting with an adult, like several other states, would probably do more to reverse the decline, he said.
Havlick also questioned whether pink gear will become popular with women who wear orange to hunt. "They just want to blend in with everyone else," he said.
New York doesn't require the bright colors for its adult hunters, though the Department of Environmental Conservation said that more than 80 percent of the state's big game hunters, as well as two-thirds of its small game hunters, wear the orange. They are seven times less likely to be shot, the agency said.
Wisconsin approved the pink option for its required hunting wear earlier this year. Colorado followed.
Deer don't see color the same way that humans do. According to wildlife officials, deer lack red-sensitive cone cells in their eyes and can't tell red or orange from green and brown.