H.J.R. 2aa - Right to hunt, fish and trap
Idaho voters will be asked to decide on Nov. 6 whether to amend the state’s Constitution to guarantee a right to hunt, fish and trap, a measure that led to tortured debates during this year’s legislative session as five previous versions of the amendment failed, before HJR 2aa finally passed both houses by two-thirds votes.
Few lawmakers objected to guaranteeing rights to hunt and fish; 13 states have done that, all but one of them in the last 15 years (though only five added in trapping). But the details of the wording in the amendment provoked big concerns about inadvertently limiting Fish and Game hunting and fishing regulations; affecting water rights or private property rights; or possibly even opening the door to allowing future lawmakers to ban the very rights the amendment sought to protect.
Five separate versions of the measure failed, before the sixth finally passed the House with four “no” votes and the Senate with three “no” votes; this was after a previous version passed the Senate unanimously but died in committee in the House.
The final version actually had to be amended after it cleared a House committee - that’s why the “aa,” signifying “as amended,” appears after HJR 2, which stands for House Joint Resolution 2. House members added a clause designed to ensure the amendment wouldn’t prevent the lawful revocation or suspension of an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license.
Shall Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a New Section 23, to provide that 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; to provide that public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing wildlife; and to provide that the rights set forth 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, shall not lead to a diminution of other private rights, and shall not prevent the suspension or revocation, pursuant to statute enacted by the Legislature, of an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license?