Raleigh, N.C. – A proposal to preserve hunting and fishing rights in the state constitution passed the North Carolina House by a bipartisan 92-23 vote on Monday, advancing the measure one step closer to being considered by voters on statewide election ballots this fall.
Senate Bill 677 Protect Right to Hunt and Fish proposes a state constitutional amendment to voters providing that the people of North Carolina have a right to use traditional methods to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject only to certain limitations promoting wildlife conservation and resource management.
More than twenty other states already have a right to hunt and fish in their state constitution.
“Of all the matters we will consider, this one is perhaps the most simple, but also the most down to earth,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), during debate on the House floor.
“The one that is truest to what North Carolina is about.”
“This is the right of the people of North Carolina to be able to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in accordance with the laws passed here in this chamber. I would urge your support of this bill.”
The legislation passed the committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House last week by a unanimous voice vote. It says that “public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. Nothing herein shall be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain.”
Hunting and fishing are core traditions of North Carolina’s heritage, economy, and conversation priorities. The state issued over 1.5 million hunting and fishing licenses in 2016 alone and draws billions of dollars in annual spending by sportsmen and women that supports tens of thousands of local jobs across the state.
S.B. 677 was returned to the state senate for a concurrence vote. If approved, it would go directly to ballot consideration by North Carolina voters.
Strong Support for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Right to Hunt & Fish
“I am proud to support this effort to constitutionally enshrine the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in the state of North Carolina. Safeguarding North Carolina’s outdoor heritage for future generations is of the utmost importance, and this measure will ensure that the economic, cultural and conservation benefits of our time-honored traditions of hunting and angling are protected in perpetuity.” – Richard Childress, past National Hunting and Fishing Day Honorary Chairman
“Hunting and fishing are not only cherished North Carolina traditions, but paired with science, they are the key to wildlife management and conservation. Unfortunately, misguided extremists have been trying for decades to ban our outdoor traditions either outright or incrementally. Amending the constitution is the best way for North Carolina to protect themselves from the extreme political agenda of animal rights groups.” – Christopher G. Kopacki, State Director for the National Rifle Association
“North Carolinians have a long and rich tradition of hunting and fishing. We are appreciative of the Senate’s work to bring this Constitutional Amendment to the voters and enshrine key protections for hunting and fishing for future generations.” – Chris Williams, Sr. Regional Director for Delta Waterfowl
“Constitutionally protecting the American heritage of hunting and fishing for future generations is critically important as radical anti-hunting organizations will stop at nothing to destroy our heritage and wildlife conservation in America.” – Trevor W. Santos, Director of Government Relations – State Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation
“Constitutionally safeguarding the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is critical to the future of North Carolina’s sporting heritage. Sportsmen and women support over 35,000 jobs in the state and contribute significantly to conservation efforts, over $56 million in 2017 alone, through the purchase of licenses and sporting-related goods. As a native North Carolinian, I strongly support protecting in perpetuity our outdoor traditions for future generations by becoming the 22nd state to constitutionally guarantee the right to hunt and fish.” – John Culclasure, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation