Senators again file 'Right to Hunt' amendment

Posted June 6

— A proposal filed Tuesday would let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to add the right to hunt and fish.

A similar proposal passed the Senate in 2016 but failed to win House approval.

Senate Bill 677 would put the amendment on the ballot in November 2018, a mid-term election likely to have low turnout. Sponsor Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, predicted overwhelming support for the ballot measure.

"I think a great percentage of citizens in North Carolina think that this is an important thing that we’re doing," Sanderson said Tuesday.

Co-sponsor Sen. Danny Britt, R-Robeson, cited a study that found sportsmen and women spent $2.3 billion in the state in 2011. Last year alone, he said, the state issued 1.87 million hunting and fishing licenses.

"Hunting and fishing are integral parts of North Carolina’s heritage, economy and conservation efforts," Britt said. "This constitutional amendment will protect future generations, the hunting and fishing rights that have always been part of our heritage and way of life, and it will ensure North Carolina remains a sportsman’s paradise."

According to Anthony Roulette with the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legal Affairs, 21 other states have added similar language to their constitutions.

"Sportsmen have been under attack for many years by well-funded national anti-hunting groups who demonstrate a clear disregard for both the cherished traditions of many Americans as well as responsible wildlife management in their drive to eliminate hunting and fishing," Roulette said. "This amendment will ensure that laws regulating hunting and fishing are only to be genuine conservation efforts based on sound science and not emotion."

Co-sponsor Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, said development and increasing urbanization are the main threats in North Carolina.

"Our access to hunting and fishing has been greatly limited. There’s been a lot of land that’s been developed, so we have fewer resources," Brock said. "We’re not trying to stop development. We’re trying to make sure we protect our resources that we have. We have other amendments in the North Carolina constitution that would preserve other lands. We want to make sure that the heritage and traditions of hunting and fishing are protected as well."

The proposal also has support from hunting groups like Delta Waterfowl. President Frank Rohwer said the number of waterfowl hunters nationwide has dropped by half over the past several decades.

"I would guess the biggest issue is access, and that’s always going to be a tough one, because most hunting in this state and in other states occurs on private land, and that’s a private landowner right to allow hunting or not," Rohwer explained. "But anything that gets in the way of hunting, that’s what we’re trying to deal with."


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  • Carl Hatcher Jun 7, 4:20 p.m.
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    I agree with Anna Temple.... Right to hunt and fish... Smoke and mirrors.... feel good.... The privilege to hunt and fish is not under attack. What is under attack is the Conservation agencies in this State. Defunded, authority and jurisdiction, undermined and ultimately the resources of the State sold or abused and not conserved. By the way thank you Duke power customers for paying for the Coal Ash damage.... so hate to tell folks I told you so I wish I were wrong!

  • Carl Hatcher Jun 7, 4:11 p.m.
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    Let me continue.

    View quoted thread

    Legislators not so much. A 23 billion dollar budget and less than a 10 million dollar a year appropriation for a STATEWIDE agency supporting the conservation, biodiversity clean water, habitat restoration and abundant and diverse fisheries resources that generate more than 3 billion dollars a year in economic impact for the State of North Carolina. And these miniscule appropriations force the Wildlife Resources Commission to spend more and more Wildlife Endowment Fund money... money paid for by "licensed" hunters and fisherman (sportsman) and a few Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine sales. .. and game wardens have no buddies.. just ask the deer "farmers." Deer farmers dont need an amendment on the ballot to change the constitution.. They can change the definition of wildlife, white-tailed deer, once known as a public trust resource... to livestock... deer farmers have friends in the DACS. White-tailed deer now = pig

  • D. Aaron Hill Jun 7, 4:10 p.m.
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    not sure what this amendment is supposed to do

  • Carla Chappell Jun 7, 9:30 a.m.
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    I do not see a problem with this, BUT AS LONG AS PROPERTY OWNERS CAN GET PEOPLE OFF THEIR LAND WHEN THEY DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION. We had 30 acres and no one ever asked to hunt on our land. The hunters told us they have hunted in past and will continue. The game wardens and deputies called out were no help. Buddies with them and it was a continuous fight. This is what needs to be protected!!!

  • Carl Hatcher Jun 7, 9:04 a.m.
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    Sportsman of this state. True conservationist.

  • Tom Baker Jun 7, 8:27 a.m.
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    They right to hunt and fish constitutionally protected? That is pathetic. Why not protect sneezing at the dinner table? I know, equally pathetic.

  • Anna Temple Jun 7, 7:41 a.m.
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    Senate has been super busy. We also need a right to breathe, right to pass tractors on country roads , right to read a book, and throw cigarette butts on the ground after that last long drag. Get busy boys need more rights.

  • Anna Temple Jun 7, 7:30 a.m.
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    Smoke and mirrors folks. Keep a very close eye on public game lands I predict they will be taken away in the dark of the night little by little. Just watch

  • Nicolle Leney Jun 6, 5:21 p.m.
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    At best, this amendment would be nothing more than a feel-good entry to please the NRA and hunting groups. At worst, this amendment could allow people to challenge _valid_ restrictions (I'm sure not every single rule related to hunting is in the General Statutes).

    The comment from the representative from the NRA (Roulette) is very telling of where their priorities are. He said "This amendment will ensure that laws regulating hunting and fishing are only to be genuine conservation efforts based on sound science and not emotion." See something missing when he talks about the laws should only be conservation efforts and not emotion? SAFETY, maybe??

  • New Holland Jun 6, 4:29 p.m.
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    not sure why we need a amendment for this. Me and my kids all have lifetime licences in NC