Contact: Kent Keene, Senior Coordinator, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy
On February 23, Iowa’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment introduced Senate Study Bill 1218 (SSB 1218). This bill follows the January introduction of House Joint Resolution 8 (HJR 8) by Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Dean Fisher. Running dual tracks in each chamber, SSB 1218 and HJR 8 propose an amendment to the Iowa Constitution which will affirm the rights of Iowans to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife.
Amendments affirming the Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife are an opportunity for the state’s elected officials and voting public to codify the importance of our outdoor traditions to their state’s economy, conservation objectives, and overall heritage. Presently, 23 states include the Right to Hunt and Fish in their constitutions, including Utah, which saw its voters approve the amendment during the November 2020 general election.
As efforts to undermine our ability to participate in hunting, fishing, trapping, and harvesting wildlife become more common, these amendments serve to safeguard our outdoor traditions and affirm the role of hunting, fishing, and trapping as critical tools in the management of many fish and wildlife populations. At the same time, these amendments provide an organic opportunity to discuss the importance of these activities to rural economies and the contributions of sportsmen and women to the conservation of our public trust resources through the American System of Conservation Funding.
SSB 1218 and HJR 8 must pass through the legislature and be signed by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Kim Reynolds before moving to the ballot for consideration by Iowa’s voting public. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation continues to support the passage of Right to Hunt and Fish constitutional amendments and looks forward to working with legislators, mission partners, and members of Iowa’s strong sportsmen’s community in support of this effort.
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?