Why It Matters: An effort to make hunting and fishing, including the use of traditional methods, a constitutional right in Florida is underway with the introduction of House Joint Resolution 1157 and Senate Joint Resolution 1234. Currently, 23 state constitutions, including all of Florida’s neighboring states, have been amended to include the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. Right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife constitutional amendments protect the outdoor traditions of thousands of sportsmen and women from efforts to limit or outright ban hunting and fishing practices. HJR 1157 and SJR 1234 would put the right to hunt and fish constitutional amendment on the ballot for Florida voters in 2024.
- HJR 1157 was introduced by Representative Lauren Melo and is co-sponsored by Florida Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Jason Shoaf. SJR 1234 was introduced by Senator Jason Brodeur.
- On March 27, HJR 1157 passed the Agriculture, Conservation, and Resiliency Subcommittee favorably. Prior to the subcommittee meeting, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted testimony in support of HJR 1157.
- Also, on March 27, SJR 1234 passed the Environment and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 8-1. Prior to the committee meeting, CSF submitted testimony in support of SJR 1234.
While adding the right to hunt and fish to the Florida State Constitution is an obvious effort for the Sunshine State’s hunters and anglers to rally around to defend their sporting heritage from anti-hunting and fishing groups, it also further protects conservation funding and Florida’s economy as a whole. For example, sportsmen and women generated over $70 million for conservation funding through the American System of Conservation Funding in 2021 alone. They also support more than 99,880 jobs and contribute more than $10 billion to the state’s economy while engaged in their pursuits.
Every day across the country, sportsmen and women see efforts to limit hunting or angling opportunities. Whether it is at the federal, state, or local level, hunting and fishing privileges are regularly threatened. Therefore, many states take that challenge head-on by coordinating with their respective state fish and wildlife agency and pro-sportsmen stakeholder groups to include the right to hunt and fish into their state’s constitution.
HJR 1157 currently awaits action in the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee, and SJR 1234 is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If HJR 1157 and SJR 1234 are successful in navigating the legislature, the right to hunt and fish constitutional amendment would be placed on the ballot in 2024. CSF will continue to work with in-state and national conservation partners as well as the Florida Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to protect the opportunities of Florida’s sportsmen and women by advocating for Florida to constitutionally protect the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.