“Right to Hunt” State Constitution Amendments Called Unnecessary by Animal-Rights Groups

Many states either already have or are planning to add “right to hunt” amendments to their state constitutions. But according to animal-rights groups, the measures are unnecessary.

From this story in the Miami Herald:
_Lifelong hunter Bill Haycraft of Kentucky sees his treasured outdoors heritage under siege and in need of constitutional protection from animal rights advocates. He’s one of many hunters backing a “right-to-hunt” amendment that’s expected to be on his state’s 2012 ballot. Kentucky is just the latest in a long line of states that have passed or are considering right-to-hunt measures to head off a feared hunting ban. Animal rights activists, however, say it’s all unnecessary. “It’s a solution in search of a problem,” said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer for The Humane Society of the United States. “These measures don’t accomplish anything.”

__Hunting advocates in at least five states, responding to pressure from outdoors enthusiasts like Haycraft and the gun lobby, are pushing for constitutional protections for hunting. the National Rifle Association wants to get the pre-emptive amendment in place quickly, before animal rights groups can persuade a majority of Americans that hunting is bad. Arkansas, Arizona, South Carolina and Tennessee have right-to-hunt referendums on the ballot this year, and Kentucky, inspired by the other states, is poised to follow in 2012. Such constitutional guarantees are already in place in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All of those states, except Vermont, have adopted the constitutional amendments over the past 15 years. Vermont’s amendment dates back to 1777.
That’s all well and good, of course, but here’s a Friday question to mull: is the anti-hunting movement really the biggest challenge facing hunting in America? It’s certainly a convenient and easily-understood bogeyman, but honestly, is it much of a threat when balanced against ever-shrinking habitat, the industrialization and degradation of public lands, precipitously declining new hunter recruitment and the conflicts over what many see as the slow but inexorable trend toward the privatization of wildlife resources? Your thoughts?