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Why does NRA support Right to Hunt and Fish (RTHF) state constitutional amendments?

America’s sporting heritage is under attack like never before, by well-funded, national anti-hunting groups that want to ban all hunting, trapping and fishing. One of the ways that the NRA counters that effort is by spearheading the campaign for Right to Hunt and Fish (RTHF) state constitutional amendments. Currently, 19 states have RTHF amendments in their constitutions, protecting America’s rich outdoor heritage from well-funded efforts by national animal extremist groups to get hunting banned. 

The following language serves as the model RTHF amendment, providing meaningful and permanent protections for sportsmen and science-driven wildlife management.

The citizens of this State have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including the use of traditional methods, subject only to statutes enacted by the Legislature and regulations adopted by the designated agency [or “fish and game commission” or state-specific term] to promote wildlife conservation and management and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.

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The model language:

  • Declares that the people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, and assures that this right will not be arbitrarily curtailed by lawsuits filed by anti-hunting extremists, nor by regulations that are based solely on emotions and political correctness.

  • Protects the right to hunt and fish by “traditional methods,” including the use of firearms, archery equipment, and other equipment traditionally used by hunters, trappers and fishermen.

  • Subjects hunting, trapping and fishing only to statutes enacted by the legislature and regulations adopted by the fish and game commission, however designated in state law, which has expertise in wildlife conservation.

  • Protects hunting, trapping and fishing from activist courts that would seek to advance the anti-hunting agenda of animal “rights” extremists, contradictory to sound, proven wildlife conservation and management practices.
     
  • Protects the traditional property rights of farmers and other land owners.
     

Now is the time for sportsmen to stand together to protect our hunting heritage. Wildlife conservation and future generations of sportsmen depend on it. With new anti-hunting groups forming, existing anti-hunting groups combining forces, and activist judges waiting to rule according to their biases, rather than according to the law, the threat to America’s hunting heritage has never been greater. In the same way that anti-gun groups have tried to divide and conquer by targeting certain types of guns one at a time, anti-hunting groups will target specific forms of hunting and attempt to whittle away at America’s hunting heritage one step at a time. The radical words of Wayne Pacelle, leader of the powerful Humane Society of the United States, speak for themselves:

"We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. . . . We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state." - Full Cry Magazine, Oct 1, 1990

"Our opponents say hunting is a tradition. We say traditions can change." - Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Oct. 8, 1991

"If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would." - Associated Press, Dec. 30, 1991

As the largest pro-hunting organization in the world, NRA strongly supports public hunting as a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife populations, and protects the tradition of hunting through lobbying, programs and the activism of our members. NRA stands on the front lines at the federal, state and local levels, to protect the rights of hunters and the Second Amendment rights of all gun owners. RTHF amendments are one of the most important NRA-led efforts to protect hunting today, as they will ensure that future wildlife conservation and management decisions will be based on sound science and preserve our hunting heritage for generations to come.

Currently, 19 states have RTHF amendments in their constitutions, protecting America’s rich sporting tradition from well-funded efforts by national animal extremist groups to get hunting banned. 

States with NRA RTHF Model Language

State Year of Adoption Voter Approval
Alabama 2014 80%
Arkansas 2010 83%
Idaho 2012 73%
Kentucky 2012 84%
Mississippi 2014 88%
Nebraska 2012 77%
Oklahoma 2008 80%
South Carolina 2010 89%
Tennessee 2010 90%
Texas 2015 81%

 

States with Some Form of RTHF Language

State Year of Adoption Voter Approval
Georgia 2006 81%
Louisiana 2004 81%
Minnesota 1998 77%
Montana 2004 81%
North Dakota 2000 77%
Vermont 1777  
Virginia 2000 60%
Wisconsin 2003 82%
Wyoming 2012 85%

 

Right to Hunt & Fish in State Statute

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Florida    
New Hampshire    

 

Right to Fish

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California    
Rhode Island    

 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.