Lawmakers weigh in on Wyoming Hunting Rights Amendment
By Eric Veram
CHEYENNE, Wyoming: This November, voters in Wyoming will determine the fate of Constitutional Amendment B, also known as the Hunting Rights Amendment. The measure codifies Wyoming citizens right to hunt, fish, and trap in the state constitution.
State Senator Larry Hicks was the chief sponsor of the legislation passed last March that put the question on the ballot. According to Hicks, the amendment seeks to preempt attempts by animal rights groups to ban forms of hunting in the state, which he says are an important Wyoming tradition and are important to the state's heritage. In an interview with the Associated Press, he said, "The other component is that there's been over 20 or 30 ballot initiatives in the last many years to try to ban trapping, or forms of hunting across the West. We only have to look to our neighbors to the south in Colorado, to see what the effect of well-funded animal rights campaigns are to eliminate things that are culturally important to the people of Wyoming." A similar view was espoused by Senator Kit Jennings, who said hunting is a way of life in Wyoming and doesn't want the state to follow the example of other states that have restricted hunting rights.
Though the amendment passed in the legislature, not everyone supported the effort. Senator Cale Case voted against the measure and told the Associated Press that he doesn't foresee groups trying to ban hunting in the state in the first place. Senator Michael Von Flatern also voted against the amendment and says he is against changing the constitution unless there is an immediate threat. Von Flatern said, "You could look at all the future threats to anything we do, and attempt to put it in the constitution. It would be a very crowded constitution, which then leads to lawsuits."
Both Idaho and Nebraska face similar measures this fall.