On Wednesday, October 29, the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a press conference at the State Capitol in Jackson to support the upcoming Mississippi Right to Hunt and Fish ballot Amendment. Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Scott Bounds and Senator Angela Hill were joined by 20 Sportsmen’s Caucus members as well as Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, and pro-sportsmen’s organizations from around the Magnolia State.
Rep. Bounds, who is also House Chairman of the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee, noted: “As members of the Mississippi Legislature, we believe our citizens should have that privilege protected in Mississippi, enabling citizens to continue to practice sound conservation principles in managing, controlling, and harvesting wildlife. This initiative protects the rights of our citizens to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subjecting them only to regulations that promote sound wildlife conservation and management as may be prescribed by general law.”
Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Vice-Chair Gov. Bryant voiced his support for the amendment and highlighted the enormous economic impact sportsmen and women have in the state. “Sportsmen generate an annual economic impact of $2.7 billion in Mississippi and support over 66,000 jobs in our great state. Protecting the right hunt and fish in Mississippi is important to ensure our traditions can be passed on to the next generation and always be an opportunity.”
The amendment will appear statewide in Mississippi on the November 4 ballot as Amendment 1. Full text of the amendment can be read below:
“The people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject only to laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting and fishing, as the Legislature may prescribe by general law. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, the regulation of commercial activities or the maintenance of levees pursuant to Article 11.”
The Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is the largest bipartisan Caucus in the statehouse with 102 members combined from both chambers. The Caucus is part of the larger National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) which is comprised of 44 state caucuses from across the nation and includes over 2000 state legislators. Mississippi Representative Herb Frierson is member of the NASC Executive Council.
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?