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Some lawmakers don't think pink passes muster on hunters, look to change 2017 law

DFL lawmakers want to overturn the provision in a 2017 state law allowing blaze pink hunting clothing, out of concern the color is less visible than blaze orange.

HF1562, sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), would only allow blaze gear — required during Minnesota's deer-hunting season — to be orange.

As amended, the bill, which also contains a number of other environmental policy provisions, was approved along party lines Tuesday by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee and referred to the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee.

Its companion, SF1533, is sponsored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) and awaits action by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee.

Blaze gear increases visibility and helps prevent hunting-related shooting accidents.

In 2016 and 2017, lawmakers clashed over whether to allow blaze pink gear and whether it would be as visible as blaze orange gear before eventually allowing it.

On Tuesday, Hansen said it's important to reverse course for safety purposes. But Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R-Nisswa) said he doesn't know of any accidents involving blaze pink gear and the number of people who can't see blaze pink because of color blindness is small.

"I just don't think that it makes any sense to undo years and years and years of peoples' investment into a clothing that they would like to use when they hunt," he said.

The bill would also require the portable, camouflage huts sometimes used by hunters, also known as ground blinds, to have blaze orange on them, if placed on public land during firearms season.

Hunters could also fulfill the requirement by having at least 144 square inches of blaze orange material on each side of a ground blind.

Under existing law, hunters are not required to have blaze pink or orange on their ground blinds, though the Department of Natural Resources recommends it.

The bill would also bar the use of neonicotinoids on publicly managed and owned land and bar toxic hunting shot on wildlife management areas in southern Minnesota and most of central and western Minnesota.

In addition, it would ban the sale of wild-caught turtles, introduce new turtle-harvesting limits and ban turtle hunting with firearms, bows and spears.

Other provisions include:

  • waiving state park-permit requirements for overnight guests during open house days;
  • banning people from shooting at animal decoys placed by law enforcement from vehicles; and
  • allowing the DNR to create rules regarding the use of motorized decoys or devices designed to attract migratory waterfowl.

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