in this Retro WON column, the Writing Huntress expounds upon the wearing of pink on gear.
Dear Writing Huntress,
I am going to start hunting this year. I’m excited about hunting, but I am a little nervous because I’ve already had some issues with the color pink on my gear. I went to a small, local store to buy my camo and the only women’s clothing I could find had pink tags and zippers, and some items were totally covered in pink. I already own a pink camo hat that the guys make fun of me for having, so I don’t know what to do about getting gear for season. What’s the deal with pink? Is it OK to wear while hunting? What animals can see it? Do you wear it?
Pretty in Pink in Portland
Dear Pretty in Pink,
Allow me to start off this column by wishing you the best this season. I hope the memories you amass will equal the joy you gain by filling your freezer. Your question is a common, if not controversial one, in the huntress realm.
Let me preface this column by answering your last question: I prefer not to wear pink. I’ve never been a fan of the color, as I’ve always been a tomboy. It has always baffled me why female gear is littered with pink, while male gear isn’t covered with blue tags, piping or details. Also, I’ve found it’s easier to hunt sans pink, given the wide array of hunting I do. Years ago, when I began hunting, the only women’s gear I could find came covered in the hue, so I generally sought out wares from the children’s section. Today, companies are beginning to cater to both pink- and non-pink-choices for huntresses, in response to the recent rise of female participation in hunting.
Do keep in mind that the function of camouflage is to break up the silhouette of the human form. Therefore, you should be fine sporting any color, as long as your camo pattern makes you appear more like a tree, bush or brush. This is especially true when you’re deer, elk or moose hunting, because those animals cannot see color, but can easily discern shapes and movement. However, there are a few animals that make wearing pink difficult, namely ducks, geese and turkeys. These birds and their keen eyesight will see you coming a mile away if you’re not properly concealed. If you choose to wear pink while hunting these feathered creatures, be sure to invest in some type of blind. Or, opt for non-pink camo, such as Próis Hunting & Field Apparel for Women.
However, your pink preference may still come under scrutiny, even if you hunt from a blind, as you’ve already experienced. No hunter, male or female, is impervious to some sort of color discrimination, especially when it comes from older hunters. Two years ago, I went duck hunting with my regular group. I knew I had to stay warm so I threw on a pair of my husband’s black Carhartt bibs. It didn’t take long after my arrival for the jibes to begin flying. When I went to greet the eldest of the group, he barked, “Are we hunting Canadas? Didn’t you know we don’t wear black EVER while hunting mallards?”
The reason I bring up that story is because hunting buddies always have, and always will find something to hassle you about. A wise hunter once told me, “If I’m not laughing or making jokes, I don’t like you.” This simple platitude taught me hunting is fun and filled with opportunities to get a chuckle, even if it is at my expense. Learning to hunt, making mistakes, and yes, even wearing pink, are reasons for older or more seasoned hunters to initiate younger hunters into the clan with a few laughs. Remember, don’t take these forms of mild initiation to heart; the wizened members of your hunting community were once newbies, too!
However, if your hunting friends are being outright mean, ask them to stop or go ahead, and show them that color doesn’t mean anything. I once hunted with a guy who loudly claimed I couldn’t carry decoys through knee-deep sludge. In response, I proceeded to carry every single goose from the boat. After the hunt, I retrieved the entire spread, brought it to the boat and volunteered to push the vessel a quarter mile back to open water. Allow your hunting safety, work ethic and positive attitude to speak louder than the hue you decide to wear, because once your buddies see you take hunting seriously, they won’t have anything to say about the color you don.
Pretty in Pink, there should be no reason for you not to wear whatever color you chose, especially if you are considering the practicalities of wearing pink (or any other color) afield while hunting animals that can see the hue. Just remember to hunt with confidence and enjoy the experience, even if you have to laugh a little at yourself.
This post was originally published on April 9, 2014.