Right To Hunt, Fish Up For Vote In Indiana This Election
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – In addition to selecting the next president and local leaders on November 8, Indiana voters will be asked to approve a new state constitutional amendment.
The amendment question will ask whether hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife should be added to the Indiana Bill of Rights. The proposed measure would make hunting and fishing the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. The amendment would still require hunters to adhere to hunting rules, bag limits, trespassing laws and other regulations in the interest of preserving natural resources for future generations.
|The amendment will appear on the 2016 General Election ballot in Indiana as follows:
Public Question #1
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?
Source: Indiana Secretary of State
Not surprisingly, animal rights activists and the National Rifle Association have taken opposite sides on the issue. The Humane Society said the proposal is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist because there is no movement to ban hunting and fishing.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action last week issued a call for Indiana voters to pass the amendment.
“Sportsmen have been under attack for many years by well-funded, national anti-hunting groups who demonstrate a clear disregard for both the cherished traditions of many Americans as well as responsible wildlife management in their drive to eliminate hunting and fishing,” the NRA notice read.
State Senator Brent Steele and State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) co-sponsored the amendment.
“Fishing and hunting are not only important parts of our Hoosier culture and history, but they enrich our economy,” Steele said of the proposed amendment in 2015.
“Hoosiers have enjoyed the freedom to hunt, fish and harvest since the first settlers arrived,” said Eberhart. “Having this in our state constitution simply adds a layer of protection to those liberties and protects the people of our state against any future infringement.”
To get on the ballot, the amendment had to pass two consecutive editions of the Indiana General Assembly in 2014 and 2015. The amendment received largely bi-partisan support in 2015, passing the Indiana Senate on a 42-7 vote and the House on an 81-12 vote.
If the amendment passes Indiana won’t be alone in having such a section in its constitution. Nineteen other states have similar constitutional amendments already on the books.