On March 22, the Kansas State Legislature took the final step towards sending a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot that, if ratified by the state’s voters, would guarantee the citizens of Kansas the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. If the amendment is passed, Kansas would become the 20th state to amend its constitution to ensure the protection of its hunting, angling and trapping traditions.
The resolution, KS HCR 5008, was first introduced by Kansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members Representative Travis Couture-Lovelady and Representative Adam Lusker in January 2015. In late February, the resolution passed out of the Kansas House with a vote of 117-7, where it then moved on to the State Senate, passing with a vote of 36-0 on March 17. Throughout the process, the members and leadership of the Kansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus were instrumental in garnering support for the resolution’s eventual passage.
In addition to protecting our outdoor heritage for future generations, the right to hunt and fish constitutional amendments also ensure the future of fish and wildlife conservation. By ensuring that hunting and fishing are utilized as the preferred means of managing wildlife, state natural resource agencies can continue to depend on hunters and anglers to serve as conservation leaders and economic drivers for Kansas.
Annually, Kansas’s 527,000 sportsmen and women spend $629 million on hunting and fishing, supporting more than 9,000 jobs across the state. Furthermore, through the American System of Conservation Funding, this spending generates $69 million in state and local taxes and $76 million in federal taxes each year.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?