Hunter with binoculars.

A hunter wearing hunter’s orange scans an area for game.

FWP photo

HELENA — Big game hunters may be able to sport a new color for safety next season under a bill introduced by a state committee.

Big game hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of visible fluorescent orange, and the Senate Fish and Game Committee voted 9-2 Thursday to introduce a bill that would give them the option to wear fluorescent pink instead. 

As a committee bill rather than one introduced by a lawmaker, it needed a three-quarters majority to be introduced. The bill failed by one vote on Tuesday with one committee member absent, gaining the needed support on Thursday.

“(We’re) trying to add an option color more attractive to the female hunters or guys who like pink,” Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, said Thursday.

On Tuesday, Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, voiced support for the bill in part to appeal to younger hunters by adding color choices.

Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby, voted against the bill. On Thursday he explained that he believes safety colors should be optional, and he was concerned the bill would further cement them in law. 

A measure to make hunter orange optional failed during the 2015 Legislature.

The bill must still go through a yet-to-be-scheduled committee hearing to see if it advances for full Senate consideration.

A bill allowing Wisconsin hunters to wear pink became law last year. Similar measures have gained traction in other states as well, including Colorado and Michigan.

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin

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