The Florida legislature is currently working on an interesting amendment to the state constitution. If passed, it would preserve the right to hunt and fish in perpetuity. You might be wondering why such an amendment would be required. After all, don’t all states offer hunting and fishing licenses? They do currently, but as our colleague Gabriella Hossman points out at Townhall, a coalition of anti-hunting groups and radical Democratic environmental activists have been working to restrict hunting and fishing rights wherever possible. Florida is seeking to head those groups off at the pass and prevent such restrictions from being put in place in the future.
Good for Florida. Yet another step designed to piss off the liberals.
Florida could soon add a right to hunt and fish amendment to its state constitution.
A joint resolution, presented as House Joint Resolution 1157 and Senate Joint Resolution 1234, is currently being deliberated in the state legislature. The provision, if passed, would create Section 28 to Article I of Florida’s constitution to “preserve in perpetuity hunting and fishing as a public right.”
If approved by both legislative chambers, it would go before Florida voters as a ballot measure in the 2024 election.
If approved, Florida will join a growing (but not exhaustive) list of states having such a constitutional amendment. 26 states offer such protections, with Vermont having been the first to do so back in 1777. The others got in on the action starting in the late 90s.
So who are these people that are trying to put an end to hunting and fishing? The National Education Association and the Open Society Policy Center teamed up to try to block a similar amendment in North Carolina, but they failed and the measure was enacted in 2018.
They aren’t the only ones, however. The NRA maintains a list of anti-hunting groups. They included the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, and Friends of Animals. The ASPCA shows up there also, along with some lesser-known organizations like Defenders of Wildlife and WildEarth Guardians. They’ve all run campaigns aimed at restricting or simply eliminating hunting.
I never imagined that we would be having this debate. Hunting and fishing to feed your family was such a fundamental part of life in colonial times that the founders didn’t even bother including it in the Constitution. And you can’t really make a case in the modern era that you want such restrictions to “save the environment.” People who hunt and fish generally tend to be some of the biggest champions of preserving the great outdoors.
The economic impact of hunting and fishing can’t really be overstated either. As the linked report points out, in Florida alone, hunters and fishermen pour more than $15 billion dollars annually into the economy through purchases of permits and outdoor sporting equipment. Where do these people think all of the money for preserving the environment comes from? It’s generated through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, duck stamps, and all the rest of the taxes imposed on these sports.
Like any right, the right to hunt and fish could and should be limited. I don't fear that these amendments will somehow suddenly eliminate hunting and fishing seasons, bag or size limits.