North Carolina Adds Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment to State Constitution

This was one of the surprising wins of the night, and is a win for conservation!

 

North Carolina just became the 22nd state to enshrine the right to hunt and fish (RTHF) in its state constitution. At 99% precincts reporting, the ballot measure passed 57.18% to 42.82%.

 

This amendment will limit the state’s ability to unscrupulously “regulate hunting and establish hunting as the “preferred” means of managing wildlife.”

 

Here’s the language of the ballot measure spelling out how hunting and fishing heritage will be protected:

 

This amendment would acknowledge the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, and to use traditional methods to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. The amendment does not define “traditional methods.”

 

This right would be subject to laws passed by the Legislature and rules (i) to promote wildlife conservation and management and (ii) to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. If it passes, the amendment will not affect any laws regarding trespassing, property rights or eminent domain. The amendment does not address its effect on local laws concerning public safety or on commercial hunting and fishing.

 

The amendment would also establish that public hunting and fishing are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

 

This ballot measure was heavily supported by National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and National Shooting Sports Foundation. It also won support from North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

It was heavily opposed by anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society. Governor Rory Cooper (D-NC) and North Carolina’s Democrat Party also voiced their opposition to it.

 

A lot of money poured into from anti-hunting interests to see this measure defeated—approximately $1.2 million:

 

As previously reported, Vermont was the first state to pass such an amendment in 1777. Since 1996, 20 more states adopted this amendment. Here’s what they entail:

 

Sportsmen in many states increasingly feel as if they are the ones outside the duck blind, and they are turning to state constitutions to ensure their hallowed pastime will continue in perpetuity. Increasing urbanization, decreased habitat, declining numbers of sportsmen, and more restrictions on hunting are common factors in the quest to assert the right to hunt and fish in a state’s most basic and difficult-to-amend document. On land that has been traditionally open to sportsmen, development of farmland and forests, along with pressure from other recreational groups such as hikers and off-road vehicles, is putting the pinch on the available land for harvesting game and fish…Opponents state that these provisions clutter a constitution and overstate the threat to these activities, while possibly limiting or increasing the amount and severity of restrictions that can be placed on sportsmen activities. The Humane Society states, “The constitution should guarantee fundamental democratic rights, not provide protection for a recreational pastime.

 

This is a win for conservation. I hope more states pass similar amendments to safeguard our hunting and fishing heritage.

About the author

Gabriella Hoffman

Gabriella Hoffman is a media strategist based in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. She has written for The Resurgent since March 2016 and serves as their D.C. Correspondent.

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