Somewhat lost in the noise surrounding the presidential and critical U.S. Senate and Congressional races being decided at the polls today are issues vitally important to sportsmen in the states of Kentucky, Idaho, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Constitutional amendments to protect the right of citizens to hunt, fish and trap in accordance with state laws and regulations will appear on the ballots in those four states in today’s general election.
In April the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Resolution 40CA, the Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment, by a 41 to 3 vote, qualifying the measure to head to voters there. In Idaho, House Joint Resolution 2a, the Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment, passed with overwhelming support in the state Senate by a 31 to 3 vote and in the state House by a 63 to 4 vote.
In Wyoming, an amendment sponsored by state Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, will “preserve the heritage of Wyoming citizens’ opportunity to fish, hunt and trap wildlife.” And finally, the Kentucky Legislature passed House Bill 1, the Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment in 2011, qualifying the measure for a 2012 general election ballot spot.
In the last general election, occurring in 2010, voters in Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee overwhelmingly approved so-called right to hunt amendments—bringing the total number of states that have approved similar protection to hunting, fishing and trapping since 1996 to 12.
Each state’s provision contains varying language to achieve the same addressed goal: to protect against threats to hunting, fishing and wildlife-related opportunities that might be posed by anti-hunting and animal-rights contingencies.
Constitutional amendments have been approved by legislators and subsequently by voters in Alabama (1996), Minnesota (1998), Virginia and North Dakota (2000), Wisconsin (2003), Louisiana and Montana (2004), Georgia (2006) and Oklahoma (2008). Protection has been in place in Vermont’s Constitution since 1777.