Written by: Tara Dodrill
Alabama citizens this fall will consider a “Sportsperson’s Bill of Rights” amendment to the state constitution that would further protect the right of citizens to hunt and fish, becoming only the latest state to pass such a proposal.
The proposed Alabama hunting and fishing amendment would affirm that both of the popular activities are to be considered the state’s preferred method ofwildlife management and conservation efforts.
“The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to reasonable regulations that promote conservation and management of fish and wildlife and preserve the future of the sports,” it reads.
The hunting and fishing bill of rights movement is not limited to Alabama. The Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development (SRED) penned a Sportsman’s Bill of Rights to urge lawmakers in all states and the federal level to address the concerns of hunters, anglers and wildlife managers.
The group is a coalition of more than 500 partner organizations, businesses and citizens who are focused on conserving habitats around the country so future generations can also hunt and fish on the lands. The organization is led by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federations.
Currently a total of 17 states have a guaranteed right to hunt and fish in their respective constitutions. Sixteen of those states had the measures approved by voters. Vermont approved such legislation in 1777. States which have added hunting and fishing protections into their constitutions in more recent years are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Both Rhode Island and California have “right to fish” laws but nothing pertaining to shooting sports.
The SRED Sportsman’s Bill of Rights says:
- Hunters and anglers shall have a voice in decisions affecting energy development on public lands.
- Public lands shall be managed for many uses, including hunting and fishing.
- Hunters and anglers shall not be forced to pay for the costs associated with poorly planned energy development on public lands.
- State and federal fish and wildlife agencies shall have adequate funding to ensure the long-term health of fish, wildlife and water resources on public lands.
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