AZ: Hunting, fishing may become Constitutional rights

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Smashy


    Likes Received:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Southwestern Oregon
    A group of state legislators and gun-rights advocates wants to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right in Arizona.

    Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, has proposed House Concurrent Resolution 2008.

    It states that citizens would have a right to "hunt, fish and harvest wildlife" and make public hunting and fishing the "preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife."

    If supported by the Legislature, the resolution would put a proposed constitutional amendment on an upcoming ballot for the voters to consider. If approved by voters, it would become Arizona's 36th right. The state's 35 constitutional rights include the right to petition and assemble, right to bear arms and the right to a trial by jury.

    Ten states include hunting and fishing rights in their constitutions.

    In Arizona, a similar bill failed two years ago. It was opposed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and environmental groups.

    National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said this time, the group is working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other groups with a vested interest to find wording everyone can support. But he said that while the wording will likely change, the overall intent will not.

    "We are seeking constitutional recognition of people's right in Arizona to have access to land to both hunt and fish," he said.

    He said the resolution would not change the state's ability to allow the Game and Fish Department to regulate hunting and fishing.

    "As it is right now, Game and Fish sets most of the rules," Dogali said. "We don't have a problem with that."

    Dogali said the resolution is not in response to any threat to hunting and fishing rights in the state, but to preempt them in the future.

    He said this resolution is one piece of an effort to assure Arizonans continue to have access to state land and other open space.

    "We recognize that cities grow, and as they grow, they try to annex land where they can," he said. "But at the same time, we want to make sure there is recreation land, fishing areas and hunting areas available so the state of Arizona 100 years from now will continue to have those activities available."

    The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has not taken a position on the resolution, spokesman Tom Cadden said.

    "At this point the (Arizona Game and Fish) department is still in the process of analyzing the bill," he said.

    The Sierra Club opposes it.

    Grand Canyon Chapter director Sandy Bahr said they believe resolution takes science and wildlife experts out of the mix when it comes to wildlife management, giving the state Legislature the authority to make decisions that had previously been made by the game and fish commission.

    "If you look at the language, it refers to the Legislature as having the exclusive authority," Bahr said. "I would say the last entity we want managing wildlife is the Legislature. Most of them know very little about wildlife issues. Having them decide bag limits on hunting is ludicrous."

    She said the bill would put the politics back into wildlife management, and offered an example.

    "Say the biologist in Game and Fish said, 'We recommend a 45-day break from hunting in this area while we recover the prairie dog population and so they can raise their young,' " she said. "The way this is written, Game and Fish couldn't do that. It would be the exclusive authority of the Legislature to go get a bill."

    Bahr said she also is concerned the resolution makes hunting the preferred way to manage wildlife as opposed to science, and that it would preclude citizen initiatives to protect a species.

    "I have no idea why anyone would support this," she said. "It would give the Legislature so much more power. This has the legislative branch totally infringing on the executive branch."

    ERASER Nyuk,Nyuk,Nyuk!

    Likes Received:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Translated: We "scientists" will lose all that research money, media coverage, and the power to influence your lives.

  3. longhair


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    Aug 18, 2008
    I would have to agree with her assessment on having the legislature controlling the wildlife management. It's something that they know nothing about. Most of our problems arise when the experts are ignored by politicians.