On Election Day, November 4, residents of Alabama and Mississippi will have the opportunity to approve ballot referendums guaranteeing the right for future generations to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in accordance with state laws and regulations.
The Magnolia State measure, crafted by the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, would add protections for hunting and fishing by all traditional methods into the state constitution, subject only to such regulations and restrictions that promote wildlife conservation and management as the Legislature may prescribe by general law.
“We’re hoping to send a message to the rest of the country that we are passionate about our hunting and fishing. We don’t want anybody dabbling with our sportsmen’s way of life,” Rep. Lester Carpenter (R-Burnsville), lead sponsor of the Mississippi proposal, told the Jackson Clarion Ledger newspaper.
In Alabama, a similar measure will add a “Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights” to the State Constitution, ensuring that harvesting wildlife and fish is a basic right that is protected by the state, subject only to reasonable regulations to support conservation for future generations. The legislation, led by Alabama Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Vice-Chair Representative Mark Tuggle, strengthens a previously approved ballot referendum that gives Alabamians the right to hunt and fish while also codifying that hunting and angling are the preferred means of managing fish and wildlife.
In the last General Election held Nov. 6, 2012, Constitutional Amendments to protect the right of citizens to hunt, fish and trap in accordance with state laws and regulations passed handily in Kentucky, Idaho, Nebraska, and Wyoming. In the 2010 General Election, voters in Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee overwhelmingly approved so-called right-to-hunt amendments.
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 may be posed by anti-hunting and animal rights contingencies.
A right-to-hunt referendum has never been turned down by voters, and some have passed by margins as lopsided as 80 to 20 percent!
Similar Constitutional Amendments have been approved by legislators and subsequently by voters in Alabama (1996), Minnesota (1998), Virginia and N. Dakota (2000), Wisconsin (2003), Louisiana and Montana (2004), Georgia (2006), and Oklahoma (2008). Protection has been in place in Vermont’s Constitution since 1777.
What do you think? Are Right-to-Hunt Constitutional Amendments necessary to protect the right of future sportsmen from the threats posed by anti-hunters?