October 13, 2020

Right to Hunt and Fish Takes to the Ballot in Utah

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

As the people of Utah begin to receive their 2020 ballots in the mail, it is up to registered voters to decide the fate of a very important ballot initiative, the Utah Constitutional Amendment E, Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment.

Establishing the state constitutional right to hunt and fish for Utah citizens, the amendment would require the right to hunt and fish to adhere to statutes that promote wildlife conservation and management and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. The measure would also declare hunting and fishing as the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife in the state.

Originally sponsored by Utah Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair’s Rep. Casey Snider and Sen. Allen Christensen earlier this year, the amendment aims to preserve Utah’s sporting heritage in perpetuity. If passed, Utah will join Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and 19 other states in constitutional provisions providing for the right to hunt and fish.

Though hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife have long been an important component of the American heritage, only recently has the “right” to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife come into question. Anti-hunting organizations would lead the public to believe that hunting, fishing, and harvesting wildlife are only a privilege, subject to social pressures and prevailing public sentiments, rather than an inherent right. In doing so, anti-hunting organizations ignore the substantial financial contribution of sportsmen and women as the primary funding source for state-based conservation efforts through the American System of Conservation Funding. By amending the state constitution and solidifying for its citizens the right to hunt and fish in perpetuity, Utah’s ballot initiative would help to ensure the American System of Conservation Funding remains intact by continuing to provide sportsmen and women with the opportunity for the consumptive, yet responsible, use of natural resources.

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?

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