The Idaho Legislature last session passed a resolution (HJR 2) to place on the ballot in November a proposed amendment to the state Constitution to guarantee rights to hunt, fish and trap. This is a pointless and frivolous use of the Idaho Constitution. There are no threats to people’s rights to hunt or fish in Idaho. The Constitution should be reserved for protecting basic human rights that affect all citizens. Those include our freedoms of speech, assembly and religion. Specific recreational pursuits do not fall into that category. This amendment sets a bad precedent for changing the Constitution to benefit special interests.
If HJR 2 is defeated, existing rights to hunt, fish and trap will remain in effect.
The intent of this proposed amendment is to eliminate the right of Idaho citizens to decide wildlife issues by majority vote. Its passage would take those decisions out of the Legislature and the initiative process and put them in the courts. State laws pertaining to wildlife would be regularly challenged as unconstitutional. Judges would be saddled with the difficult task of determining where regulation ends and prohibition begins.The rights of our children and grandchildren to weigh in on these issues will have been eliminated.
The proposed amendment includes a forever-guaranteed right to trap. While both hunters and fishermen kill their catches quickly, trapping is a cruel way to kill animals. An animal caught in a leghold trap can suffer for days trying to wrench itself free before the trapper arrives to beat it to death or to stomp on its chest and suffocate it. Animals caught under water struggle frantically before they drown. About 40,000 animals die in Idaho this way every year.