Arizona Hunting Amendment, Proposition 109 (2010)

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The Arizona Hunting and Fishing Amendment, also known as Proposition 109, or HCR 2008, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Arizona as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was defeated.

The measure dealt with gaming laws in the state. The proposal gives a constitutional protection to the right to hunt in Arizona, and prohibit citizens from using the ballot initiative to make laws regarding hunting and fishing by giving exclusive authority to the legislature to do so.

The measure was pushed by Representative Jerry Weiers and was supported by the National Rifle Association. Opponents included the ballot-initiative rights group Citizens in Charge.[1][2][3]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results for the measure were:

Proposition 109 (Hunting Amendment)
Defeatedd No926,99156.5%
Yes 714,144 43.5%

Results via the Official Election Canvass of Results from the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

Text of amendment

Ballot title

The ballot title that Arizona voters saw read as follows:[4]

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of:

1. making hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife a constitutional right,

2. giving the State Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws regulating these activities,

3. prohibiting laws that unreasonably restrict hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife or the use of traditional means and methods, and

4. establishing hunting and fishing as a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current laws regarding hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife.[5]

Short title

The short title of the measure, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, read as follows:[6]

A concurrent resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Arizona; amending Article II, Constitution of Arizona, by adding Section 36; relating to hunting and fishing.[5]


The summary of the amendment read:[7]

Proposing an amendment to the constitution of Arizona; amending article II, constitution of Arizona, by adding section 36; relating to hunting and fishing.[5]

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to amend Section 36 to Article II of the Arizona Constitution to read:[7]

A. The citizens of this State have a right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife lawfully. Wildlife belongs to this State and is held in trust for the benefit of the citizens of this state.
B. Exclusive authority to enact laws to regulate the manner, methods or seasons for hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife is vested in the Legislature, which may delegate rule making authority to a game and fish commission. No law shall be enacted and no rule shall be adopted that unreasonably restricts hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife or the use of traditional means and methods. Laws and rules authorized under this section shall have the purpose of wildlife conservation and management and preserving the future of hunting and fishing.
C. Lawful public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.
D. This section shall not be CONSTRUED to modify any provision of common law or statutes relating to trespass or property rights.[5]



Supporters of the measure included:

  • Jerry Weiers, who sponsored the measure, stated, "If you went and watched an old Walt Disney movie, 'Bambi,' you walked out of there and you've got big old . . . tears rolling down your cheeks and you're going, 'Man, those hunters are horrible guys and shouldn't be killing deer.' You go to a legislator and ask that legislator to run a bill for you. And that legislator has the power, and all the stars line just right - the Legislature can stop deer hunting. Boom. Just like that."[8]
  • Jack Husted, who was a State Game and Fish commissioner, stated that he was instructed by Game and Fish Department staff to "walk very lightly" when dealing with the topic of killing mountain lions in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in order to protect bighorn sheep. According to Husted, if he did not deal with the situation carefully, advocacy groups might have begun an initiative that would ban mountain lion hunting. Husted stated, "I can't do the right thing by all of the state's wildlife because of those advocacy groups."[10]
  • Linda Turley-Hansen, syndicated columnist and former Phoenix TV anchor, advised a 'yes' vote on the measure in an editorial revealing her recommendations for all the propositions on the November ballot.[11]


Arguments that were made in support of the measure included:[13]

  • The measure would protect hunting and fishing from any future threats to the issue.
  • Hunting and fishing in the state, according to the North American Model, were vital to wildlife management.
  • Supporters were stating that the reason for the proposal was to curtail proposed ballot measures that would limit the right of Arizona residents to hunt.[14]
  • Hunting and fishing did not take money out of the General Fund, and was supported by the generated revenue from the sale of licenses.
  • In the Publicity Pamphlet published by the Arizona Secretary of State's office, arguments were submitted for the passage of the measure, most notably the following:[9]
Jim Weiers stated, "Proposition 109 defends against consequences that anti-hunting groups never consider when imposing bans. Without active management through regulated hunting, game species overpopulate their habitat. Once the carrying capacity of the land is exceeded, starvation and disease follow. This works to destroy the entire complex ecosystem that countless species depend upon. To compound this problem, fees and taxes paid by sportsmen to fund habitat restoration programs are lost."
Douglas C. Beach and Gerald Gotchie of the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club stated, "Our Game and Fish Commission will continue to regulate all hunting and fishing. The legal harvest of fish and wildlife species is a pillar of wildlife and fisheries management, and should always be available as a tool for management. Hunting and fishing are not only forms of recreation for citizens of Arizona, but a valuable means to provide high quality food for our families."
Jerry Thorsen and Brad Powell of the Arizona Wildlife Federation argued, "Resources provided by hunters and anglers benefit all citizens who appreciate wildlife. Without the funding and volunteerism provided by the men and women who hunt or fish, Arizona's native trout, antelope, bighorn sheep, turkeys and many other wildlife species would not exist at their present numbers and locations. Restrictions that erode hunting and fishing opportunities diminish the state's ability to care for its wildlife and should not be enacted frivolously."
Robert R. Woodhouse and Jack F. Husted of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission wrote in the pamphlet, "When approved by the voters, Proposition 109 will amend Arizona's constitution to elevate wildlife harvest to the level of protection and distinction it deserves, helping to ensure that hunting and fishing remain an integral part of wildlife management in Arizona. Funds generated through sale of tags and licenses to sportsmen and women are essential to wildlife conservation efforts."
John Koleszar and Craig Nebeke of the Arizona Deer Association stated, "The Arizona Deer Association urges you to vote YES on Proposition 109. If passed, Arizonans can be assured that the tradition of hunting and fishing will continue to be protected and passed from generation to generation. Some in the environmental and animal right's crowd will try to tell you that the passage of this proposition will leave wildlife unprotected and in danger of over hunting and fishing. Nothing could be further from the truth! If passed, Prop. 109 will keep the traditional North American models for wildlife management in place for generations to come."

Campaigning, rallies and events

  • Supporters of the measure began a campaign on October 4, 2010 that aimed to inform voters about the measure, and lead them away from misinformation on Proposition 109, according to them. Reports stated that two state Game and Fish commissioners and a representative from the NRA were some of the supporters that appeared at the state Capitol on October 4 to announce their intentions to launch the specific campaign. According to Game and Fish commissioner Jack Husted, "There's a current trend nationwide to limit hunters' freedoms. We have initiatives to stop dove hunting, to stop bear hunting. They would take mountain-lion hunting away from us with these emotional initiatives. It pains me."[15]



Opponents of the measure included:

  • The main campaign against the measure was No on 109.
  • The ballot initiative rights advocacy group Citizens in Charge opposed the measure because, according to the group, they saw it as a back door power grab. The group argued that the measure reduced Arizonan's right to initiative by making wildlife issues the sole domain of the legislature. The group's president Paul Jacob toured the state speaking in opposition to the measure.[16]
  • Representative Nancy Young Wright was against the measure, opposing a measure that would change the constitution to say that hunting was a method of animal control.[14]
  • The Humane Society of the United States have stated their opposition to the measure. President and CEO Wayne Pacelle stated, "Prop 109 takes away Arizona voters’ rights and is a giveaway to special interests that defend extreme and inhumane practices. If we let the politicians take away our right to vote on wildlife issues, what other issues will be next?”[17]
  • The Animal Defense League of Arizona argued against the measure, with president Stephanie Nichols-Young claiming, "Prop 109 is a blatant power grab, aimed at excluding Arizonans from having a voice in wildlife management. We formed this committee to stand-up for direct democracy and wildlife in Arizona.”[17]
  • According to Sandy Bahr, chapter director Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, "Prop 109 will undermine the current system of wildlife management in Arizona and give science a backseat to politics, which is the last thing Arizona’s wildlife needs. Our system of wildlife management has served Arizona well since 1929, when hunters and anglers helped form the Game and Fish Commission. This measure puts the power in the hands of politicians.”[17]
  • The Pima County Democratic Party recommended a 'no' vote on the measure.[18]


The following arguments were made against the measure:[13]

  • Opponents said there was no threat to hunting and fishing, and that the measure was a "solution looking for a problem."
  • The measure was a "back door power grab" because it cut the issue of wildlife off from the voters and would hand it completely to the legislature. It could set a dangerous precedent to cut the voters out of even more issues.
  • The measure would provide the right to hunt and fish, which was already a right, a strength and "gravity" that was "inappropriate."
  • The language was vague and could result in future confusion when trying to interpret the amendment. That confusion could result in litigation that would be needed to resolve problems.[19]
  • According to Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, when commenting on Prop. 109, "Prop 109 is a solution in search of a problem, given that no animal welfare groups have launched or even threatened to launch a statutory initiative on hunting. And from the perspective of democratic decision-making, it's just unfair. Prop 109 is a shameless and undisguised attempt to restrict the voting rights of Arizona."[20]
  • In the Publicity Pamphlet published by the Arizona Secretary of State's office, arguments were submitted against the measure, most notably the following:[9]
Jim Vaaler and Don Steuter of the Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter stated, "Proposition 109 will undermine the current system of wildlife management in Arizona and give science a backseat to politics. This is just one more bad idea brought to us by the Arizona Legislature, one of the most dysfunctional legislatures in recent history. Hunting, fishing and harvesting of wildlife will no longer be considered privileges if Proposition 109 passes, but instead will be included in the basic Declaration of Rights in the Arizona Constitution along with true rights..."
Stephanie Nichols-Young and Karen Michael of the Humane Voters of Arizona argued, "Arizona voters need to speak up for Arizona's animals. The proponents of proposition 109 intend to take away initiative rights to silence a majority of Arizona voters and the volunteers who have been so successful in protecting animals through the initiative process...Please vote to protect wildlife and constitutional initiative rights that have been in Arizona's Constitution since Arizona became a state."
David A. Holaway and Dorothy Reed Inman of White Mountain Conservation League claimed, "House Resolution 2008 is a vaguely written, confusing bill that will change the manner in which hunting and fishing in Arizona are managed. This is confusing, because any resident of legal age may buy a hunting/fishing license now, and pursue their passion. Where is the need for this legislation? The Resolution states that citizens have the RIGHT to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife legally. This measure may drastically change the way wildlife is managed."

Campaign contributions


The following donations were made in support of the measure:[21]

Contributor Amount
National Rifle Association $78,000
National Rifle Association of America $50,000
Federal Capital Communications Corp. $44,770
National Rifle Association $42,500
National Rifle Association $34,000
Prolist $33,686
Prolist $33,633.74
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society $30,000
Arizona Elk Society $30,000
Federal Capital Communications $21,262.50
National Rifle Association of America $19,261.53
Master Print Inc. $11,712.10
Novacon Promotional Products $7,261.53


The following donations were made in opposition to the measure:[22]

Contributor Amount
Humane Society of the United States $250,000.00
Media Strategies and Research $250,000
Media Strategies and Research $100,000
The Fund for Animals $100,000
The Humane Society of the United States $13,684.75

Analysis, reports and studies

Legislative analysis

A legislative council analysis performed on the measure and published in the Arizona Secretary of State's Publicity Pamphlet, impartially stated the following, in terms of what the measure would do if enacted:[9]

1. Wildlife is held in trust for the citizens of this state, whom have a right to lawfully hunt, fish and harvest the wildlife.
2. The legislature has the exclusive authority to enact laws to regulate hunting, fishing and harvesting of wildlife. The legislature may grant rule making authority to a game and fish commission. No law or rule shall unreasonably restrict hunting, fishing or harvesting of wildlife or the use of traditional means and methods for those activities. Any law or rule shall have the purpose of wildlife conservation and management and preserving the future of hunting and fishing.
3. Lawful public hunting and fishing are the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.
By its terms, nothing in Proposition 109 shall be construed to modify any law relating to trespass or property rights.

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Arizona ballot measures, 2010


  • The Desert Lamp stated in an editorial about the measure: "While critics have noted that there are few public attempts to restrict the right to hunt in Arizona, that’s hardly a reason to vote against this motion – as with many issues, the conscious voter might err on the side of greater guaranteed freedoms rather than fewer."[23]
  • Goldwater State was for the measure, stating, "I plan on voting "yes" and I recommend that others do so."[24]


  • The Arizona Daily Star was opposed, saying, "Would amend the state constitution to include the right to hunt and fish, and give the Legislature control of wildlife management."[25]
  • The Arizona Republic, editorialized that "Voters should shoot down the highly flawed Prop. 109" because as they see it the amendment would subject state wildlife authorities to endless litigation and it would create a slippery slope of placing recreational rights into the constitution.[26]
  • The East Valley Tribune recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "Two big problems with this measure: First, the threat to hunting and fishing rights doesn’t exist, so this is a solution in search of a problem. Second, the wording is far too vague and could lead to expensive litigation to resolve."[27]
  • The Yuma Sun stated about the measure, "While we support the continuance of hunting and fishing, activities which are an important part of the American tradition, we do not support the idea of trying to “rope off” them off from full political participation by all citizens who may or may not support these activities."[28]

Path to the ballot

The proposed ballot measure was given preliminary approval by the Arizona House of Representatives on March 15, 2010. The House then approved the proposed ballot measure on March 25, 2010, sending the measure to the Arizona State Senate for approval. HCR 2008 was required to receive a majority vote from the both chambers in the Arizona State Legislature to place it on the ballot since it was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure was passed to the ballot when the Arizona Legislature's session adjourned on April 29, 2010.[14][29]


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • A poll released on October 13, 2010 by the Behavioral Research Center found that 39 percent of likely voters supported Proposition 109, while 36 percent opposed it. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.[30]

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
October 1-10, 2010 Behavioral Research Center 39% 36% 25% 405

Similar measures

See also Certified 2010 hunting ballot measures

Similar measures that have been certified for the ballot in other states in 2010 included the following:

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading

Government documents



  1. Citizen Blog"Arizona Prop 109: The Push The People Out Proposition," October 11, 2010
  2. East Valley Tribune, "2 pro-hunting bills move ahead in Legislature," March 15, 2010 (dead link)
  3. Arizona Legislature, "HCR 2008"
  4. Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet," accessed September 22, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. Arizona Secretary of State, "2010 General Election:Ballot measures"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Arizona Legislature, "Text of Measure"
  8. Arizona Daily Star, "Proposition targets any anti-hunting laws," September 7, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet," accessed September 21, 2010
  10. Arizona Daily Star, "Prop. 109: Hunting & fishing referendum sends both sides into tizzy," September 30, 2010
  11. East Valley Tribune, "Voters: Awaken and prepare for heavy-duty ballot propositions," October 10, 2010
  12. Kingman Daily Miner, "Officials sound off on upcoming propositions," October 14, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 Morrison Institute, "Understanding Arizona’s Propositions: Prop 109," accessed September 3, 2010 (dead link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Arizona Daily Star, "House votes to put right to hunt in AZ Constitution," March 25, 2010
  15. Arizona Republic, "Misinformation feared on Proposition 109," October 5, 2010
  16. Citizens in Charge, "PRESS RELEASE: National Voter Group Blasts Arizona’s Proposition 109," October 11, 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 The Humane Society, "Animal Welfare and Environmental Groups Urge Arizonans to Vote No on Prop 109," September 3, 2010
  18. Blog For Arizona, "PCDP Ballot Measure Recommendations," accessed October 18, 2010
  19. Arizona Daily Star, "Impact of 'right to hunt' measure questioned," October 17, 2010
  20. Huffington Post, "Prop 109: A Power Grab Bad for Arizona Voters and Wildlife," September 14, 2010
  21. Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees," accessed October 18, 2010
  22. Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees," accessed October 18, 2010
  23. Desert Lamp, "The Desert Lamp’s Ballot Proposition Endorsements," October 20, 2010
  24. Goldwater State, "Ballot question summaries and recommendations part 1: Propositions 106-113, the Constitutional amendments," November 1, 2010
  25. Arizona Daily Star, "The Star's recommendations on state, local propositions," October 28, 2010
  26. The Arizona Republic, "Prop. 109 would spur legal battles," October 8, 2010
  27. East Valley Tribune, "Endorsements: Ballot propositions," October 24, 2010
  28. Yuma Sun, "Hunting, fishing already supported by most Arizonans," October 17, 2010 (dead link)
  29. The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Legislature set to go home after wide-ranging session," April 30, 2010
  30. MyFOXPhoenix"Poll: Arizona Hunting Proposition Slightly Ahead," October 14, 2010 (dead link)