SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Our Utah ballot is long this year and ABC4 wants to make sure voters have all the information they need to vote all the way to the bottom. One item proposes making hunting and fishing constitutional rights.
Constitutional Amendment E would make hunting and fishing constitutional rights, and would set hunting and fishing as the preferred method of conservation in our state.
Representative Casey Snider is the man behind the amendment; he explained, “That fundamental ability to procure for yourself through those activities is tantamount to who we are. Right now that’s popular, but I’m not sure it will always be so.”
Snider explained that a constitutional amendment now could protect those activities down the road. “By the time you need the robustness of an amendment or the protection of the constitution, it’s already too late.” He pointed to California as an example and explained that the coastal state does protect fishing, but not hunting. He says mountain lion populations there are managed and hunted by the state and feels that is a missed opportunity and even an overstep by the government.
On the opposing side of Amendment E: Representative Marsha Judkins, “I support that right [to hunt and fish]. Our statutes also support that right.”
Judkins feels a constitutional amendment here is unnecessary because there is no threat to hunting and fishing in Utah; “We need to be extremely judicious and careful about what we put in this most important and sacred document.”
If passed, E would not in any way remove hunting and fishing restrictions or punishments for violators. The Department of Wildlife Resources would still have the power to enforce restrictions set by statute and oversee all conservation efforts.
Snider says he worked with the DWR to draft this legislation and language; the DWR currently says they are not taking a position on the issue.
22 other states have similar protections in their constitutions. Read the full language of the proposed amendment here.