Illinois hunters will soon be allowed to wear fluorescent pink as an alternative to blaze orange, and penalties for deer poaching will immediately increase under two pieces of legislation signed into law Saturday.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bills Saturday at Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithon, sponsored the poaching bill and was a co-sponsor of the blaze-pink bill, along with Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, and Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey.
House Bill 4231 permits hunters to wear blaze pink clothing as an alternative to blaze orange. State law requires hunters to wear blaze outerwear and caps for certain types of hunting, including firearm deer hunting.
“We want to make sure that Illinoisans are able to hunt and enjoy the outdoors safely,” Rauner said. “The new legislation provides more variety in hunting gear while preventing tragic hunting accidents in Illinois.”
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Costello has said allowing blaze pink could encourage more girls and women to become interested in hunting.
Bryant said: “Though I am quite partial to the color pink, the scientific research I have seen shows that people see the color pink better than the color orange. I am grateful that the governor recognizes the importance of hunting safety and that hunting is an important part of the culture and a tourism driver for Southern Illinois.”
Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, said: “Blaze pink can be easier to see, making it a safer option when hunters are in fields or woods. At the same time, many believe deer can’t see the pink color. Giving hunters this option will only enhance their hunting experience and improve safety.”
Wisconsin, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York and Virginia have also authorized fluorescent pink as an alternative color to orange.
The blaze-pink law takes effect Jan. 1.
The other piece of legislation, House Bill 5317, requires people who illegally capture or kill whitetail antlered deer to pay restitution to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Poaching is a serious crime and should be punished accordingly. Illegal hunting hurts legitimate sportsmen, deprives the state and local businesses of revenue generated from hunting, and harms Illinois’ wildlife population,” Rauner said.
The synopsis of the legislation states: “Raises the fair market value or replacement cost of various species protected by the Act. Provides that a person who possesses whitetail antlered deer, in whole or in part, captured or killed in violation of the Act, shall pay restitution to the Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $1,000 per whitetail antlered deer and an additional $500 per antler point, for each whitetail antlered deer with at least 8 but not more than 10 antler points. Provides that for whitetail antlered deer with 11 or more antler points, restitution of $1,000 shall be paid to the Department per whitehead antlered deer plus $750 per antler point.”