Utah Makes Hunting, Fishing Constitutional Right

by Keeli Parkey

An amendment passed by Utah voters on Nov. 3 will make hunting and fishing a constitutional right in their state.

Known as Utah Constitutional Amendment E, Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment (2020), the measure offers protection to those who want to hunt and fish in the state, according to USA Today. Importantly, those who support the amendment did so out of fear that steps to protect wildlife would limit their access to outdoor sports.

Ballotpedia.org reports that the constitutional amendment “would subject the right to hunt and fish to statutes that, according to the amendment’s text, promote wildlife conservation and management and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. The measure would declare that hunting and fishing are the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife in Utah.”

As a result of Tuesday’s vote, the measure will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Rep. Snider Sponsored Amendment

Rep. Casey Snider, a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, sponsored the amendment. According to Ballotpedia, the measure passed the Utah House 61-9 in February 2020. The Utah Senate passed it 21-7 in March 2020. Those votes cleared the way for it to appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

“Hunting and fishing has always been a critical component of our state. … It’s a part of who we are,” Snider has said, according to Ballotpedia. “This bill is not only about protecting who we are, but preserving who we are going forward. … It is not unforeseeable, and history bares this out, that 30 or 40 or 50 years from now, those participating in [hunting and fishing] will be a very significant minority, more so than they already are. It is not a foregone conclusion that these sort of activities will be eliminated from the public sphere and from conservation generally and at large.”

The first state to guarantee hunting and fishing as a constitutional right was Vermont – in 1777.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, states across the country have seen an increase in the number of hunters.