North Carolina constitution amended to guarantee right to hunt & fish

With the addition of North Carolina, there are now 22 states that provide constitutional guarantees for citizens to hunt and fish. (Photo: Richard Simms)

North Carolina has joined Tennessee, and 20 other states, in creating a constitutional right to hunt & fish. On November 6, voters in North Carolina approved an amendment to the state constitution to protect the Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife. The amendment passed 57 percent to 43 percent. More than two million votes were cast "for" the amendment.

Once the amendment is certified and enrolled, North Carolina will be 22nd state to constitutionally protect the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife. The amendment was presented to voters after Senate Bill 677 passed the legislature earlier this year. Sponsored by North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus members Senator Danny Earl Britt, Senator Tom McInnis, and Senator Norman Sanderson, SB 677 passed both legislative chambers with strong bipartisan support.

When a similar amendment passed in Tennessee in 2010, voters approved the amendment by a record-breaking 90 percent margin, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Article I of the North Carolina Constitution will be amended by adding: "Sec. 38. Right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.The right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of the State's heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. The people have a right, including the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject only to laws enacted by the General Assembly and rules adopted pursuant to authority granted by the General Assembly to (i) promote wildlife conservation and management and (ii) preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. Nothing herein shall be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain."

In addition to the CSF, the amendment was strongly supported by a wide range of in-state and national sportsmen's conservation organizations and businesses.

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) Honorary Board Member and North Carolina resident Richard Childress praised this ballot measure. "The amendment is about ensuring our ability to pass on outdoor traditions, protecting conservation funding, and instilling a deep appreciation for our state's wildlife and natural resources in the minds of North Carolina's next generation," said Childress.

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