Why It Matters: As efforts to undermine the ability of sportsmen and women continue across the US, constitutional amendments protecting the right to hunt, fish, and trap represent one of the strongest assurances that our time-honored outdoor traditions will remain available. As additional states seek to explore these protections, it is critical that the entire sporting-conservation community be on the same page to ensure that such efforts are successful.
- In Iowa, efforts to constitutionally protect the right to hunt, fish, and trap are currently making their way through the legislative process.
- If passed by the Iowa Legislature, the measures would then be voted on by Iowa’s citizens before officially being included in the Hawkeye State’s Constitution.
- At this time, 23 states have enacted legislation that protects the right to hunt and fish, while two others have language protecting the right to fish.
- In Iowa, CSF has formally declared support for the measures and is working with in-state partners to ensure a unified front.
As the 2023 legislative session continues in the Hawkeye State, many within the sporting-conservation community are taking note of a series of bills that aim to grant the highest level of protections that can be afforded to our time-honored outdoor traditions. Currently moving in the form of House Joint Resolution 6 and Senate Joint Resolution 8, legislators in Iowa are proposing a state constitutional amendment designed to formally protect the right to hunt, fish, and trap in the state. Should these resolutions successfully make it through the legislative process, Iowa’s voters will have the final opportunity to approve the measure.
Constitutional amendments affirming the right to hunt, fish, and trap are not an effort that the sporting-conservation community takes lightly. For example, while the protections provided by such amendments should be recognized as a victory for, and championed by, sportsmen and sportswomen, there are other considerations (i.e., the maintenance of the state fish and wildlife management agency’s ability to establish reasonable, science-based regulations) that must be addressed. Fortunately, both HJR 6 and SJR 8 clearly include provisions that maintain the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ management authority.
With 23 states already sporting protections for the right to hunt and fish, the sporting-conservation community has much to celebrate as Iowa explores this opportunity. However, with this celebration also comes the obligation to ensure that the next critical component, Iowa’s voters, are educated and engaged. As we look ahead, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue to support Iowa’s effort to constitutionally affirm the right to hunt, fish, and trap, and we look forward to working with our in-state partners to try to push this across the finish line.