Times Staff Report
October 2, 2012
FRANKFORT - Kentuckians get the opportunity during next month’s elections to constitutionally solidify their hunting and fishing heritage by voting for a constitutional amendment that guarantees their personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife through traditional methods.
The 2011 Kentucky General Assembly overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1, also known as “The Right to Hunt and Fish,” which established a ballot initiative during the November 2012 general election.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources worked closely with the bill’s sponsors, as did the League of Kentucky Sportsmen and the National Rifle Association. The Commonwealth is seeking to join more than a dozen other states that already have passed constitutional hunting or fishing guarantees, including Arkansas, Alabama, California, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Alaska.
Idaho and Nebraska voters also get the chance to amend their constitutions with similar amendments next month.
The full text of the HB1/ Constitutional Amendment reads:
“The citizens of Kentucky have the personal right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, using traditional methods, subject only to statutes enacted by the Legislature, and to administrative regulations adopted by the designated state agency to promote wildlife conservation and management and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or the regulation of commercial activities.”
Preserving Kentucky’s rich hunting and fishing heritage remains central, but hunting, fishing and wildlife-related recreation also are tremendous economic engines in today’s Commonwealth. They generate more than $3 billion in economic impact and 34,000 jobs annually. They produce nearly $209 million in state and local tax revenues.
“Kentucky was known as the Happy Hunting Ground long before it became a state, and Kentuckians today still enjoy hunting and fishing at higher rates than the national average,” said Dr. Jon Gassett, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We are fortunate to have the chance next month at the polls to join many other states that have already taken steps to ensure that heritage continues for our grandchildren and theirs.”