Idahoans to vote on hunting, fishing amendment

Idaho voters will have a chance to vote on a proposed amendment that says Idahoans have a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap. The Senate gave final approval to the constitutional amendment Tuesday.

The vote on House Joint Resolution 2 was 31-3, easily overcoming the two-thirds vote needed to approve a constitutional amendment.

Boise Democrat Sen. Elliot Werk said a previous version of the constitutional amendment was “clean and clear” but the new version is not and urged a no vote.

But Twin Falls Republican Sen. Lee Heider, the measure’s lead sponsor in the Senate said, “I maintain that this amendment does indeed clarify our rights. I think this is a great amendment. … The people of Idaho love to hunt, fish and trap.”

For years, state lawmakers have toyed with amending the constitution to preserve the right to hunt, fish and trap.

The amendment does not require action from the governor. It will appear on the November general election ballot, where it will require a simple majority for passage.

The amendment says, “The rights to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods are a valued part of the heritage of the state of Idaho and shall forever be preserved for the people and managed through the laws, rules and proclamations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. Public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing wildlife. The rights set forth herein do not create a right to trespass on private property, shall not affect rights to divert, appropriate and use water, or establish any minimum amount of water in any water body, shall not lead to a diminution of other private property rights, and shall not prevent the suspension or revocation, pursuant to statute enacted by the Legislature, of an individual’s hunting, fish or trapping license.”

If approved by voters, the amendment would be added to the portion of the constitution known as the “declaration of rights.” That’s the part of the constitution that deals with the right of free speech, assembly, suffrage and the right to keep and bear arms.

Note: Photo by David Frazier

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