Will Kansas And Indiana Have The Right To Hunt And Fish?

posted on April 8, 2016

Most American hunters are well aware of the increasingly antagonistic attacks on our longstanding hunting heritage and outdoor way of life by animal rights activists and other anti-hunters. America’s sporting heritage is under siege like never before by well-funded, national anti-hunting groups that want to ban all hunting, trapping and even fishing.

Fortunately for America’s hunters, the National Rifle Association is also aware of these attacks, and has long worked tirelessly to protect the rights of hunters, as well as the rights of non-hunting gun owners. One of the ways the NRA counters this anti-hunting effort is by spearheading the campaign for Right to Hunt and Fish (RTHF) state constitutional amendments. 

Over the years, this movement has been quite successful. In fact, currently 19 states have RTHF amendments in their constitutions, protecting America’s rich outdoor heritage from well-funded efforts by national animal extremist groups to get hunting banned. 

This November—during the crucial presidential vote—hunters in both Indiana and Kansas will have the opportunity to add RTHF amendments to their state constitutions.

Late last month, language for the NRA-backed RTHF state constitutional amendment was approved by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and will appear on the November ballot as Question 1. If passed by the voters, the measure will amend the Indiana Constitution to establish an individual right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in the Hoosier State and ensure that wildlife and conservation management decisions will continue to be based on sound science, not the misguided agendas of anti-hunting and anti-fishing extremists.

Sportsmen spent almost $1 billion enjoying Indiana’s great outdoors last year. And with more than 14,000 jobs relying on the outdoor industry, it’s a tradition vital to both the economic and cultural well-being of the state.

“Indiana sportsmen and women know the importance of protecting America’s treasured outdoor heritage for future generations,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Voting for ‘Question 1’ on the November ballot will protect those cherished traditions in the Hoosier State from efforts by well-funded national extremist groups to ban hunting.”Late last month, language for the NRA-backed Right to Hunt and Fish state constitutional amendment was approved by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and will appear on the November ballot as Question 1.

On the November ballot, Indiana voters will be asked:

“Shall the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended by adding a Section 39 to Article 1 to provide that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly to:

(1) promote wildlife conservation and management; and
(2) preserve the future of hunting and fishing?"

Meanwhile in Kansas, House Concurrent Resolution 5008, the Right to Hunt, Fish and Trap Wildlife, was unanimously passed by the Kansas Senate last month—meaning, this November, Kansans will have the opportunity to vote on this state constitutional amendment to create permanent protections for sportsmen and conservation. 

HCR 5008 proposes an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that will affirm that it is a right of the public to hunt, fish and trap as such:

“The people have the right to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to reasonable laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights or water resources.”

Of course, Kansas is another state rich in its hunting and sporting tradition. This year alone, Kansas received $12.8 million of Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Funds thanks to excise taxes paid by Kansas sportsmen and women on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Pittman-Robertson funds fuel important conservation efforts such as the acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, wildlife species introduction, wildlife research, public access programs, and hunter education programs. 

Furthermore, sportsmen and women are an essential part of the Kansas economy. According to the latest data, they spend more than $629 million annually, and support more than 9,000 jobs.

Misguided extremists have been trying for decades to incrementally or outright ban hunting, fishing and trapping throughout the country. Now is the time to safeguard your outdoor heritage by making sure all Kansas and Indiana citizens who appreciate hunting and angling know about these ballot initiatives and go to the polls to vote for them this November.


Deputy Tyler Thoman
Deputy Tyler Thoman

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