Wildlife Management Issues on the Ballot Last Week

By Julia King

Hunting Photo Three generations pose after a successful spring turkey hunt in Mississippi. TWS Council Member Darren Miller (center) is pictured with his daughter, Hannah, and father, Dennis. All three were involved in harvesting this bird. The time spent with family and friends in nature is a primary motivation for many hunters, including Darren. Image Credit: Michelle Miller

Four states voted on ballot measures related to wildlife management last week – primarily in regards to how hunting is managed and treated within the state. Alabama and Mississippi each approved constitutional amendments to ensure hunting and fishing rights for its citizens, a relatively common trend over the past several election cycles. Maine and Michigan each rejected their proposed initiatives related to hunting specific species.

Alabama: Amendment 5, Alabama Right to Hunt and Fish

The “Sportperson’s Bill of Rights” was passed by Alabama voters on Tuesday, preserving the future of hunting and fishing in the state. The constitutional amendment ensures that citizens have the right to hunt and fish subject to reasonable regulations that promote sound conservation and management.

Source: ABC 3340 (November 4, 2014)

Maine: Question 1, Citizen Initiative on Bear Hunting Practices

Maine voters rejected a proposed ban on hunting bears with bait, dogs, and traps last Tuesday. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife along with the Maine Chapter of The Wildlife Society endorsed opposition to the proposed ban.

Source: WCSH6 (November 5, 2014)

Michigan: Proposal 1, Michigan Wolf Hunting Referendum and Proposal 2, Michigan Natural Resources Commission Referendum

Michigan voters rejected two proposals on November 4 regarding hunting. Proposal 1 would have allowed the establishment of wolf hunting seasons and designated wolves as game animals in the state. Proposal 2 would have allowed the Natural Resources Commission to directly designate game species and determine hunting seasons, rather than game animals being designated through legislation. The failure of the two proposals suggests that a 2015 wolf hunting season will not occur in Michigan.

Source: Detroit News (November 5, 2014)

Mississippi: Mississippi Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment

Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment that citizens have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game species throughout the state. This establishes that hunting and fishing through regulations is a right, rather than merely a privilege. Mississippi lawmakers will work with state game wardens to regulate hunting and fishing seasons.

Source: Hattiesburg American (November 4, 2014)

Sources: Ballotpedia