Pink is the new hunter orange?

If one Louisiana legislator gets her way, hunting enthusiasts will have a new safety color option: They can wear fluorescent pink instead of sticking only to the traditional, blazing-orange vests and hats that dominate hunting season.

Louisiana law requires anyone hunting wildlife during open gun season to display at least 400 square inches of “hunter orange” as a safety precaution. Orange hats also can be worn to satisfy the requirement.

A Louisiana House panel has advanced legislation that would also allow a daylight florescent pink color to be worn. House Bill 179 now heads to the full House for consideration. It also requires approval from the Senate.

Rep. Malinda White, a Bogalusa Democrat and the only woman serving on the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, said the proposal is meant to bring more attention to outdoor activities and encourage more people to hunt. Although the measure is not gender specific, she said she hopes it will particularly appeal to female hunters, as she is a hunter herself.

“In my opinion, it would encourage women hunters — young and all — to embrace the outdoors,” she said. “Louisiana is a sportswoman’s paradise.”

The push isn’t unique to Louisiana. Earlier this year, Wisconsin became the first state to allow hunters to wear pink safety gear.

A similar measure has since popped up in Colorado, and Maine lawmakers have considered allowing hunters to wear pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Cole Garrett, legislative liaison and policy attorney for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the state agency that oversees hunting regulations is backing the pink proposal here to further encourage safety.

“We think it’s good to give people choices,” he said.

Louisiana — like much of the South — has a high per-capita rate of hunters, but hunting popularity has fluctuated over the past decade, based on licensing statistics.

White, who was dressed in all black to present her bill to the committee, promised that House members — men and women — will be wearing pink when the bill hits the House floor later this session.

“Anybody can wear pink,” she said. “I’m a hunter, so I am really in favor of it.”

Sportsmen are required to wear “blaze orange,” also called “hunter orange,” so fellow hunters don’t mistake them for game. Most states require hunters to wear a certain amount in various hunting circumstances, though a few still just strongly suggest its use.

No one spoke against the Louisiana proposal during the committee hearing Wednesday.

In Wisconsin, the discussion over adding pink was opposed by some female hunters, who said it was sexist.

The Associated Press reported that Sarah Ingle, president of the Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association, said she found it condescending to women.

“Would you really be willing to gut (a deer) and … drag it out of the woods just because you can wear pink?” asked Ingle, who the AP reported goes by the nickname “Shotgun Sarah.”

The group’s website still features anti-pink links.

But the push in Wisconsin also brought up a reason for male hunters to embrace the new hue.

Majid Sarmadi, a color scientist and professor at University of Wisconsin who testified during Wisconsin’s debate over adding pink as an option, found that blaze pink provided a better color contrast to the traditional orange and was more visible to fellow hunters.

He also has concluded that fluorescent pink may be harder for deer to detect than blaze orange.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of Louisiana state government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.