A bill signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 that allows deer hunters to wear blaze pink drew criticism by some hunting organizations after some supporters of the bill said pink clothing would help attract more female hunters.
It's not known if pink clothing will be the tipping point for non-hunters to hit the woods and fields of Wisconsin and then shoot and gut a deer. But a Dane County company is hoping its line of blaze pink products designed exclusively for women will attract existing hunters and those new to the sport
DSG Outerwear in Oregon has launched a line of blaze pink jackets, bibs, hats and gloves that can be purchased through the company's website, at Sheels sporting good stores in Appleton and Eau Claire and on the website of mega-outdoor retailer, Cabela's. And while Wisconsin, where deer hunting is a more than $1 billion industry, is a prime target for DSG, hunters in Minnesota, Virginia, Colorado and Louisiana are also potential customers after law changes in those states were approved.
"It was always another sport that I wanted to start a line in," said Wendy Gavinski, DSG's owner. "I just needed that push and this was kind of it."
Gavinski, 38, a former salesperson at U.S. Cellular and Shred-it, and with a degree in communications from UW-Whitewater, founded Divas SnowGear in 2010 to sell outerwear and accessories to women who ride snowmobiles. In 2014, she told the Wisconsin State Journal that annual revenues for the company topped $1 million after she and her husband, Travis, were asked to be part of Facebook's first 12-member SMB (small to medium businesses) Council.
Blaze pink presents another growth opportunity for DSG but Gavinski admits that it's been tough to get a handle on how much product to design and have manufactured since the laws that allow blaze pink in addition to blaze orange are relatively new. Waterproof, windproof , insulated and breathable jackets range in price from $90 to $150 with blze pink bibs priced at $129 on the DSG website.
"The women's side of hunting is growing a ton so we kind of just based it on our best own guess," Gavinski said. "Cabela's gave us their best guess but they didn’t have any idea either. It was very difficult."