State will vote on constitutional right to hunt, fish

Staff Reports

INDIANAPOLIS — A joint resolution for a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee the rights of Hoosiers to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife will be on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Sponsored by Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, Senate Joint Resolution 2 passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 81-12.

The resolution states hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife are a valued part of Indiana’s heritage but does not limit the application of any laws relating to trespass or property rights and does not limit the General Assembly from promoting proper wildlife protocols.

“Hoosiers have enjoyed the freedom to hunt, fish and harvest since the first settlers arrived,” Eberhart said. “Having this in our state constitution simply adds a layer of protection to those liberties and protects the people of our state against any future infringement.”

About 965,000 Hoosiers engaged in hunting or fishing this past year, creating an $818 million economic impact for the state. The industry employs 16,000 people across the state.

The first state that provided constitutional protection for its citizens’ right to hunt and fish was Vermont in 1777. Since then, 18 other states have followed suit, and nine states have the issue before their legislatures this session.