On the 2016 ballot for Indiana, the first question relates to The Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment. If passed, the amendment would be added to the Indiana Bill of Rights and allows people the constitutional right to hunt and fish. Pictured, Casey Sunsdahl, right, of Soudan tosses a decoy duck to the front of his duck boat after a morning of hunting on Lake of the Woods. His hunting partner is Brad Redmond of Virginia. TNS
Hoosiers pass Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment
Indiana has voted, and the Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment will now be added to the Indiana Bill of Rights.
The Nov. 8 election resulted in 80 percent of Hoosiers voting “yes” to Public Question 1, with 20 percent voting “no.”
Currently, 19 states have Right to Hunt and Fish constitutional amendments.
This new constitution officially permits the constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap to be subjected to regulations promoting wildlife conservation and management and preserving the future of hunting and fishing, according to ballotpedia.org. Public hunting and fishing are now the preferred method of wildlife management under the amendment.
Indiana is the 20th state to approve this amendment.
Sara Maier, a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major, voted “no” to the proposed amendment and said she was disappointed with the results.
"I don't think the right to hunt and fish is a constitutional right because constitutional rights need to be evenly applicable over the area they cover. So subject to local rules and regulations, didn’t seem quite fitting for contstitutional right," Maier said. "Also [the amendment] will make hunting and fishing main means of population control in indiana, so this interfere with conservation efforts and can lead to population decrease or a lot of growth, which could be bad."
While Maier is not pleased with the new amendment, she said the results did not come as a surprise.
"I’m not surprised, I did a lot of research and thinking. When I first looked at it, I thought why shouldn’t it be a thing," Maier said. "I feel like people who just went to the ballots would look and see that 'yeah we should be able to hunt and fish', on surface it looks ok, but that’s not what it’s really about. Nuances of it, would probably say."
Joseph Losco, director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs said the question was not well publicized.
"The National Rifle Association of America backed it and in a case like this where [there is] very little, low information, people know very little about it," Losco said. "Any groups organized have the advantage. NRA was organized and did it’s job to get the vote out on its side."
Loco said that Indiana is also a "heavy hunting state which could also have something to do with it."
Not everyone was unhappy with the results.
Jacob Baldridge, a sophomore computer technology major voted “yes” in support of this measure on Election Day.
After the results were posted, Baldridge said he was "very excited it passed."
"I firmly believe its something that should be constitutionally protected," Baldridge said. "I feel like hunting is one of the few rights that come as a human right, the right to survive."
Should hunting and fishing be protected rights for people of Indiana? Hoosier voters will decide when they answer question one on their ballots this election.
Story continues after our video that breaks down Public Question 1.
The Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment, also known as Public Question 1, is on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. If passed, the amendment would be added to the Indiana Bill of Rights and would permit the constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap to be subjected to regulations promoting wildlife conservation and management and preserving the future of hunting and fishing, according to . Public hunting and fishing would be the preferred method of wildlife management under the amendment.
Though this amendment has not been discussed as much within this election cycle, many are already weighing in their opinion and votes like Joshua Gruver, an assistant professor of natural resources and environmental management who will be voting “no” on Nov. 8.
“Hoosiers already have a privilege to hunt, fish and harvest game under the public trust doctrine. So why create an amendment?” Gruver said. “There is currently no threat to hunting and fishing, and there never has been.”
The Hoosier Environment Council is asking Hoosiers to vote “no” on Public Question 1, as the right to “hunt, fish and harvest game into the state constitution is a dangerous thing to do.”
The public’s ability to hunt and fish in Indiana is already considered a protected privilege for all Hoosiers under the public trust doctrine, according to .
“I don’t know of any laws currently on the books or planned in Indiana that would interfere with a person’s right to hunt or fish,” said Joseph Losco, director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs. “The Department of Natural Resources works to preserve resources and opportunities for outdoor sport and activity. The proposed amendment holds the possibility of limiting the conservation efforts of the state.”
Gruver advises that a “yes” vote will have “consequences that are not immediately apparent.”
“It will seriously limit the state’s ability to protect fish and game, including threatened and endangered species,” Gruver said. “It will make it easier for those seeking to open private lands to hunting and fishing and practices like canned hunting — hunting animals in a fenced-in area — which, to me, is unethical and is not hunting at all.
“There is also the potential that the new right would encourage season and bag limit violations, and possibly encourage poaching of threatened and endangered species.”
Sara Maier, a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major, has already filled out her ballot for this election and voted “no” to the proposed amendment.
“I see no reason why hunting and fishing need to be a part of our state constitution, as wildlife populations differ by locality, and so that right wouldn’t be universally applicable in the same ways all of the time, as I think rights should be,” she said. “It also requires hunting and fishing to be the main method of wildlife population control, which could lead to a lack of conservation efforts and the depletion or extreme growth of wildlife populations in a given area depending on how much the people of the area hunt and fish. In my mind, any law that is subject to so much local discretion doesn’t belong in a constitution, since constitutional laws should apply evenly across the areas they cover.”
Jacob Baldridge, a sophomore computer technology major, disagrees and said he will be voting “yes” in support of this measure.
“Hunting and fishing should be a protected right, as it guarantees the right of individuals who follow the law to not be subject to the issues surrounding the consumerist society in which we live,” Baldridge said. “While arguments against hunting are continuously made, the harvesting of wild animals from the land by hunters is the most humane way for an animal in the wild to die. Hunting for many, especially in rural areas, provides affordable meat to sustain a family for months for the fraction of the cost of meat bought in a store and provides a better quality of life for the animal.”
The National Rifle Association of America is encouraging Indiana to support the Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment
According to the , Public Question 1 will ensure laws regulating hunting and fishing are only to be genuine conservation efforts based upon sound science and not emotion.
Gruver advises voters to do some research before voting on this proposed amendment.
“I think it is absolutely important for people to know what they are voting for before they actually vote,” Gruver said. “Understanding the consequences of yes/no votes is essential.”
This decision is now in the hands of Hoosiers on Election Day.
“Many people believe that constitutional changes should be limited to only extremely important matters like a person’s civil liberties,” Losco said. “Hoosiers will have to decide if the right to hunt and fish is one of these.”