Four states—Arkansas, Arizona, South Carolina, and Tennessee—have right-to-hunt referendums on the ballot this year. Kentucky may follow.
Such constitutional guarantees have already been passed in nine states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Not all the legislation has been recent; Vermont passed their amendment in 1777! California and Rhode Island have established constitutional rights to fish, but not to hunt.
The right-to-hunt initiatives are spreading now as a result of animal rights pressures against hunting and fishing across the country. Dove hunting has already been banned in Michigan, a state with a million hunters, as a result of HSUS efforts, and bear hunting is under attack by activists in Kentucky and Minnesota.
Sportsmen seek to establish their rights in state constitutions before animal rights activists persuade a majority of American citizens that hunting is bad. Animal rights spokespersons pooh-pooh the attempts as unnecessary.
September 12, 2010