Outdoors blog

Idahoans overwhelmingly approve hunting rights amendment

From left, Lloyd Arnold, Ernest Hemingway, Tillie Arnold and Mary Hemingway after a day of hunting near Sun Valley, Idaho. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
From left, Lloyd Arnold, Ernest Hemingway, Tillie Arnold and Mary Hemingway after a day of hunting near Sun Valley, Idaho. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

ELECTIONS -- Idaho voters have overwhelmingly approved an a measure upgrading hunting, fishing and trapping from traditional privileges to rights protected by an amendment to the state's constitution.

Tuesday's vote was about 78 percent in favor of H.J.R. 2aa - The Right to hunt, fish and trap measure.

While the intent seems sincere from a sportsman's perspective, one always must consider the legal ramifications of a constitutional amendment.  There's some concern this measure may have consequences for wildlife habitat --- and therefore to hunters and anglers -- down the line.

The issue has been pointed out in this Idaho Statesman column by Rocky Barker -- http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/10/28/2326090/right-to-hunt-fish-trap-goes-to.html.

Also before the election, a retired Idaho Fish and Game Department fisheries biologist expressed his concerns here.

Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, who crafted the amendment, said it's time to protect Idaho’s heritage, especially against the steady pressure from animal rights groups. He says the amendment will protect the hunting, fishing and trapping heritage from future attempts to erode Idaho’s wildlife management laws.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission supports the amendment.

The trapping portion of the proposed protections has stirred the most controversy.

Idahoans Against Trapping launched a campaign against the amendment effort earlier this year, arguing that trapping is cruel and inhumane, and shouldn’t be protected in the constitution.

A "yes" vote supported adding the following section to the Idaho constitution:

“The rights to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, are a valued part of the heritage of the State of Idaho and shall forever be preserved for the people and managed through the laws, rules and proclamations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. Public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. The rights set forth herein do not create a right to trespass on private property, shall not affect rights to divert, appropriate and use water, or establish any minimum amount of water in any water body, and shall not lead to a diminution of other private rights.” 

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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