Right to hunt and fish would be constitutionally protected

Washington voters would decide in this year’s general election whether or not to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in the state constitution under a proposal sponsored by Sen. John Braun. If approved, the state would become the 22nd to constitutionally protect both activities.

“Hunting is a major part of our state’s heritage and a generations-old activity for many families in the Pacific Northwest,” said Braun, R-Centralia. “Sportsmen constantly see more government regulations affecting where and how they can hunt or fish. As demand for public lands increases, they want to know their rights are respected and protected.”

The proposal preserves the right to use traditional means to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, identifying them as the preferred method of wildlife management in order to promote wildlife and land conservation.

“Every year, hunters hear the special interest call for additional restrictions ranging from location and time of year to increased game limits,” said Braun. “We’re respectful of concerns and we are willing to work together with other outdoor enthusiasts, but the hunters and fishermen I talk to are concerned, and I want them to know their rights won’t be further eroded.”

To qualify for the ballot, Braun’s measure would have to receive support from two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives. A simple majority of voters could then add hunting and fishing to the list of rights in Article I of the state constitution.

Similar state constitutional protections were enacted as far back as 1777 in Vermont and as recently as just last year in Indiana and Kansas.

States with constitutional protections for hunting and fishing.