By Andy Rasmussen
In 1777, a dozen years before the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Vermont passed the first state constitutional provision providing for the right to hunt and fish. Since 1996, over 20 other states, many in the West, have adopted similar amendments.
These amendments protect sporting and outdoor traditions as a valued part of the region’s heritage and economy and preserve them in perpetuity. They also ensure, through law and regulation, that hunting and fishing is maintained for the people or public good, which is something we at Trout Unlimited can stand behind.
Lifelong memories and experiences enrich our lives and those of our families. Fishing, hunting and all wildlife-related recreation generates over $1 billon to Utah’s economy. Hunters, fishers and state partners have helped complete 2,274 wildlife and range projects, restoring some 2 million acres and generating $279 million in Utah through the Watershed Restoration Initiative. And the North American Wildlife Management Model, funded by taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, has produced diverse and successful wildlife for all to enjoy all over the continent.
All Utahn’s, whether or not they fish or hunt, benefit from this outdoor legacy. This amendment will help prioritize funding for habitat improvements and access in an ever-shifting political climate. Voting “yes” on the Utah Constitutional Amendment E, Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment (2020) on the Nov. 3 ballot, ensures these social and economic traditions continue. With this amendment, Utah will join with 21 other forward-thinking states preserving the most successful wildlife management model in the world.