Hunter orange remains required attire

LAKE COUNTY — Wardrobe requirements for hunting in Michigan will not change this fall, after a ruling stating bright orange still must be worn.

Since 1977, Michigan has mandated hunters wear "hunter orange.” However, last year legislation was passed and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, which would add pink to the allowable safety colors for hunting.

However, instead of making it legal outright, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission was tasked with looking at the safety of such a move. Recently, the commission ruled against adding pink as an allowable safety color.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission decided hunters must continue to wear at least one prominent piece of attire in the bright orange hue, visible in all directions, stating the color is proven to be visible and enhances safety.

John Glover, hunter’s safety coordinator for the Mecosta County Rod and Gun Club, was happy to hear about the decision.

“Hunter orange is highly visible, much more so than the pink,” Glover said. “The push behind the pink was to try to get more women involved in shooting sports and they thought by doing that it would attract them.”

According to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources report, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin allow the “hunter pink” color as a substitute.

The ruling does not prohibit hunters from wearing pink and accessorizing with other garments.

The DNR websites states, “A person shall not take game during the established daylight shooting hours from August 15 through April 30 unless the person wears a cap, hat, vest, jacket, or rain gear of hunter orange. Hunter orange includes camouflage that is not less than 50% hunter orange. The garments that are hunter orange shall be the hunter's outermost garment and shall be visible from all sides of the hunter.”

There are exceptions to the orange requirement, including hunters using bows or crossbows during archery deer season.

Sticking with orange requirement was the best move, Glover said.

“Personally, I think orange is the standard and should be observed,” he said. “It’s about safety above all else.”

Randy Rice, Mecosta County Rod and Gun Club president, also agreed.

“We discussed this topic as a board and felt it was not the best idea to allow substituting pink,” he said. “For safety, sticking with the orange is what is known and it works. Pink could be anything, including surveyors tape or other debris. I think they did the right thing sticking with the orange.”