Do we have a constitutional right to hunt? How about to fish? What about just to be in the outdoors?
Twenty-two states either have such a measure or are considering one. Tennessee is one that is considering creating a right to hunt.
“That hunting, fishing and trapping, and the harvesting of wild birds, fish and game, shall be a right preserved to the citizens of this state, subject only to reasonable restrictions prescribed by law.”
What does this really say? Not much.
I really like Richard Simms comments:
Here is where I stand (if you care) [I do].
I have compared hunting and fishing to religion… that it is a personal choice of each individual… a choice that cannot, and should not, be either required nor banned.
One would think that since I compare hunting & fishing to religion, I would support [such an amendment]. The Tennessee Constitution guarantees religious freedom without exception, so why not hunting?
The section guaranteeing religious freedom does not end with the phrase, “subject only to reasonable restrictions prescribed by law.”
Imagine a constitution which read, “the people shall have religious freedom… subject only to reasonable restrictions prescribed by law.”
In other words, “anyone can choose to be a Baptist, unless legislators pass a law banning all Baptists.”
To me the “Right to Hunt” amendment would mean the same thing… “we guarantee that anyone can hunt, fish and trap, unless legislators pass a law saying that you can’t.”
What is the point?
Not to be shown up, Pennsylvania has a pending bill, H.B. 532, introduced by Representative Matthew Baker, R-Tioga. This proposed constitutional amendment has similar language to the Tennessee proposal:
Right of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game. The right of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game shall be forever preserved, subject to restrictions relating to species, seasons, licensure, limits, methods and locations, as prescribed by the laws of this Commonwealth.
How about a constitution amendment reducing the size of the government? I doubt that will get much legislative support.