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“Hoosier voters will decide on Election Day whether to make hunting and fishing a protected right in Indiana, just like free speech or religion,” indystar.com reports. “If the constitutional amendment is approved, Indiana would become the 20th state to pass such a measure — prohibiting local governments from passing laws restricting hunting or fishing in the future and establishing hunting as the state’s preferred method for wildlife conservation and management.” Yes, well, this ain’t no “the right to hunt and fish shall not be infringed” kinda deal. Here’s the official ballot summary for Question 1 . . .

desantis-blue-logo-no-back-4-smallProvides that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of Indiana’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. Provides that the people have a right, which includes the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, 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. Provides that hunting and fishing are the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. Provides that this constitutional amendment does not limit the application of any laws relating to trespass or property rights. This proposed amendment has been agreed to by one general assembly.”

Is it me, or does Question 1 sound like it doesn’t do squat? And since when is hunting under threat in Indiana? “It’s unfortunate we’re at a place where we have to do this,” State Senator Jim Tomes said. “Young people seem to be more interested in playing video games than going outside.” So a constitutional amendment is the answer? I’m sorry. I must be missing something. Would you support a constitutional amendment like this on the state or even national level?

31 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Should Hunting and Fishing be a Constitutional Right?

  1. So it’s a Constitutional Right, subject to total emasculation by nameless bureaucrats in the name of “conservation?”

    That sounds similar to the way Democrats want to interpret 2A — a Constitutional Right subject to any controls that bureaucrats want to place on it.

    Pass. I mean, don’t pass. Well, you know what I mean.

  2. No, I would not support anything like this. My first objection is to the use of the word right. That word is overused (to put it mildly) and the result is that few can articulate just what rights are.

    My second objection is that it is a losing strategy in the effort to curtail govt intrusion into our lives. Making piecemeal laws or amendments to specific areas of despotism does nothing to address the attitude that govt can do virtually anything if enough voters can be paid off to demand it.

    Finally, the activities of hunting and fishing by their nature require a place to do it. Whether I may hunt or fish on private property is solely the business of me and the property owner or agent. As for public land, I’d much prefer to see most of that sold to private individuals or associations of them. I will never claim that I have the right to demand that someone allow me on their property if the prefer that I not do so.

  3. I greatly appreciate that hunting is recognized as a valuable tool to aid in conservation efforts, and the amount of effort going into protecting the rights of sportsman leaves me giddy. However, to go as far as a state constitutional amendment seems, well, a little silly. I don’t understand why a basic state preemption law wouldn’t have sufficed. That being said, I’m not an Indiana native, and I’m not sure what the political climate there is, nor how seriously they take their hunting (although I’m guessing the answer is “very seriously”).

  4. I would support a state constitutional amendment that codifies a right to hunt and fish for personal purposes. Remember, we have an unalieanable right to life and that requires eating food to survive. If an individual turns to fishing and hunting to provide their own food, more power to them.

    I cannot articulate why I am reluctant to codify a right to hunt and fish in the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps it would confuse people regarding the Second Amendment, make the Second Amendment appear superfluous, and encourage people to eliminate it?

    • What happens if everyone in the state chooses to exercise that right, but the game population in that state is unable to sustain that demand, and collapses?

      Game is a shared resource. Like any other shared resource, it has to be subject to regulation to prevent tragedy of the commons.

      In any case, the right that you have articulated so far is the right to be fed, not the right to obtain food by means of hunting. I have to note that in doing so, you went from a negative right to life, to a positive right to sustenance. As a liberal, I have to warn you: If you keep it up, you’ll be justifying Obamacare in no time. ~

  5. One would be hard pressed to find someone more passionate about hunting and fishing, and the stewardship that goes with it, than myself. I think this is stupid.

  6. This is a tricky one:
    I have a right to hunt game. Game animals are not private property, they are public property and therefore subject to regulation.
    I have a right to hunt game; therefore no bleeding-heart hippie may legally try to stop me.
    I have a right to hunt game; but I do not have a right to access private property the game is on.
    I have a right to hunt game; but if there is no public land near where I live upon which I can hunt, I cannot sue the state for depriving me of land access.
    The whole right to hunt thing can quickly get muddy with many unintended consequences, like most other poorly-thought out codes and laws.

  7. The self proclaimed guardians of the earth are pushing to end hunting and fishing, ‘one state at a time’. For whatever reason, they would rather the wildlife reproduce to the point that disease wipes out extremely large portions of them, or starvation kills them off, rather than see sportsmen financially supporting game wardens who seek to protect the wildlife and the environment.

  8. For food? Sure. While I’m not going to push to ban hunting for sport, it strikes me as very “serial killer in training” behavior to kill animals just for fun.

    • Sport hunters don’t bother me so long as they donate leftover meat to a good cause, be it a soup kitchen in Detroit or a village in Zimbabwe. I could care less about people who flaunt exotic hides in their living room. I have better ways to burn money. Pest control is self explanatory, and woodchucks aren’t exactly delicious.

  9. The law as written seems to do very little. A simple, easy to understand law making hunting a true right would result in likely over-hunting of species, and other problems.

    If anything, I’d rather limit the state government from “eliminating” any animals that weren’t previously set aside for individuals to hunt with a license. As such, if and only if hunters aren’t able to “manage” animals, would the state be able to use other methods. I’d probably want there to be an over-provisioning in licenses designed to account for unsuccessful hunts as well, saying “the state can only kill up to 80% of the animals designated for taking by hunting license issuance”, or similar percentage.

    As such, this law is more of a “statement” than an actual policy, and seems like a bunch of hot air. But I’m not a Hoosier, so it’s not really my business.

  10. That which is granted can be taken away. While hunting still enjoys support today, it isn’t unforeseeable that a later assembly and populace would repeal the amendment, and thus create a justification to ban or further restrict hunting.

    On the flip side, it does help Fudds in the face of long gun restrictions, as you could argue that wood furniture is a traditional method (as opposed to plastic fantastic).

  11. It seems superfluous and unneeded to have an amendment. Where are the denizons of Hoosierland to weigh in? Indiana has a very strong gun culture and my next shotgun is shortly coming from just across the border.

  12. As a hunting Hoosier, we are all aggravated by the word “traditional” in the first part of the amendment.
    Historically (at least in Indiana) that means archery. We already have extremely limited firearms season for whitetail; this is the first year that a very limited selection of rifle calibers are allowed.
    Most hunters see the word “traditional” as meaning “hunting with a bow is constitutionally protected.”

    I’ll be voting against it. Indiana is already incredibly gun-friendly already, but it’s best not to rest on our laurels.

  13. Tricky question, for me better solution should be constitutional amendment about “preserve nature in best condition and nature preservation traditions for next generations”, not law about hunting or fishing because they are small part human influence in nature like industrial waste dump to rivers, destruction of animal habitats by uncontrolled urban sprawl or excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture. Law to something, mostly means law to use something without any internal control or submission of any explanations. For nature it’s bad solution because it’s risk for next generation to see many species only on old photos because hunting without any control can effective remove any species on earth

  14. Yes, to prevent a 51 percent population of tree huggers from banning hunting for the other 49 percent.

    There are a lot of low information voters in big cities who think fur is evil and have no clue where their meat actually comes from.

  15. The right to hunt and fish exists whether there is an amendment, constitution or government. With a fishing and hunting rights amendment, I’d expect all the fishing and hunting licenses fees to be revoked and residents (I didn’t say citizens) will be “allowed” to hunt and fish without so much as a photo ID.

  16. Well, I do have deer and turkeys in my neighborhood that would look really good in my freezer, and there are skunks and fatass raccoons that need to get blasted, too…

  17. Well, something missing from the bill of rights is a right to one’s property. By some accounts the constitution’s authors thought the need to declare this even more ridiculous than the need to declare the others.

    AIR, one of the earlier Virginia documents included an unambiguous statement of the right to one’s property.

    Actually owning your own stuff throws the conversation in a different direction. Who’s deer is it? Well if it ate my stuff on my land, it’s maybe mine. If it’s on my land it’s mine. Etc. There’s old, old precedent, like the deer in the King’s forest are the King’s. Not because all deer are the King’s, but because these deer are on the King’s land.

    How little we own the land we “own” has gotten ridiculous. In one of the mountain states – Colorado, I think – people were getting whacked for collecting rain water falling on their own roofs, to water their own gardens. It seems the state made a law that all the water that fell on the state belonged to the state to manage.

    I think there should be a constitutional assertion of the right to property, including the default that you own first, while the collective has some interest second, and, because the weenies are casual about disregarding obvious intent, calling out explicitly that any infringement counts as a taking of property, and the burden of justification is on the folks doing the taking.

    But, that’s just me. While I’m clear that I’m part of an ecosystem, I think that on the one hand, I have some form of independent existence, and on the other hand that our overlords, and even the most weenie of eco-weenies don’t actually speak for Gaia. Show me an actual Lorax, and I’ll consider it.

  18. It seems to me the purpose of this is not so much to protect hunting if it passes but to demonstrate that the majority of the people in the state do not support hunting, guns, etc, etc if it doe not pass. The state could appease the tree huggers and the leftists and when people object say “but, the people have spoken”.

  19. Here’s an interesting question: Liberals cry over the racism in team names like Redskins or Braves – why aren’t they trying to get Indiana to change its name to “The Native American State”?

  20. When a similar “right to hunt and fish” went on the ballot in Texas this spring, the goal was not so much a superfluous declaration that it’s a right on par with keeping and bearing arms, but intended to strengthen conservation efforts for hunting and fishing. I think it is (and was, when it went on the ballot in Texas) worded very poorly, but that was the gist.
    Those who I talked to who were staunch advocates of it had a fear that the state government might gradually shift conservation and population efforts to the state agency in terms of who’s actually out there doing population control, rather than create or push incentives for population control toward hunters. I voted for it because sooner or later the state is going to have to address the feral hog problem, and the amendment basically requires that they put the priority on hunters to address it.

    Sorry if that sounds disjointed. It’s still early for me.

  21. No. We should be very careful about what we define as inalienable rights. I fully support hunting and conservation, but making it a right is a step too far. Legislating it and arguing it in court will be a nightmare.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say it becomes a legal right. Let’s say I want to shoot a deer every day. Who’s going to stop me? It’s my right. Ok, so the state then limits my right to harvesting only that which I can reasonably use as food. Now we have signed up to let the government determine the reasonable amount of food that one person needs. Ok, so let’s say that we concoct some kind of devil’s bargain that gives the government that power and we go on our merry way. So I and my thousand like-minded friends are now going to harvest right up to the limit, conservation be damned. Buck, doe, fawn? Who cares, they’re all meat, and it’s our right. Also, fawns are tender. Who really cares about the health of the deer population anyway? But wait, the government is going to impose the same seasons, target selection, and weapon restrictions that it always did, in an effort to conserve the deer. So now our right is pitted against conservation, and we have signed up to let government narrowly define how our right may be exercised. Hey look, we now have precedent for the government to begin narrowing how other rights may be exercised, because clearly our rights can and should be limited in the pursuit of some greater good. Fantastic!

    For many reasons we should not lightly add to our list of rights. If you take the stance that the Bill of Rights exists to define that which the government may not limit except in extreme circumstances, then hunting and fishing fail that test. Conservation requires that we impose limits on harvesting, and those limits are more numerous and severe than we are generally willing to accept for something defined as a right. I am in favor of protecting hunting and fishing, but making it a right is the wrong move.

    • “Ok, so the state then limits my right to harvesting only that which I can reasonably use as food. Now we have signed up to let the government determine the reasonable amount of food that one person needs. ”

      The government already sets a limit to the number of deer you can take.

  22. According to the lower court ruling in Heller (Parker at the appellate court level), it is. The right the colonists had as British citizens that they would continue to have and was not to be infringed upon by the new government included as a safeguard against tyranny of the crown, for self-defense and for hunting.

  23. DC court of appeals in Heller,
    To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
    protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right
    existed prior to the formation of the new government under the
    Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for
    activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
    understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
    depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
    abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the
    important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the
    citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient
    for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to
    placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right
    facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be
    barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth
    for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second
    Amendment’s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects
    are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s
    enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or
    intermittent enrollment in the militia.

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