Wisconsin Passes Constitutional Amendment to Protect Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping

On April 1, voters in Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved an amendment to that state’s constitution designed to protect hunting and fishing in the state.

The new amendment read,

The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.

Final returns had the amendment passing by a margin of 82-18, with some rural counties voting as high as 94-6 in favor of the amendment.

Supporters of the bill argued that it would help forestall efforts by animal rights activists to restrict or even abolish altogether hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin. Dan Gunderson, executive director of the Wisconsin Hunting and Fishing Alliance, told the Associated Press, “This has always been about our kids and grandkids [rights to hunt and fish]. It isn’t about you or me.”

George Meyer, a former Wisconsin secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources, agreed with Gunderson in telling the Associated Press, “The major impact is 30 or 40 years down the road as there is a drift more from the traditions of hunting and fishing.”

But Alliance for Animals director Cynthia Lott said the amendment was “ridiculous” and would lead to longer legal battles, but wouldn’t fundamentally change the picture in Wisconsin as far as animal rights groups are concerned. Lott told the Associated Press,

This will tie up the court system on really ridiculous battles over whether to hunt and kill certain types of animals.

Wisconsin joins Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia in having some sort of constitutional protection of hunting and fishing.


Hunting, fishing, trapping amendment passes in landslide. The Associated Press, April 2, 2003.

Voters pass amendment to guarantee hunting, fishing as a right. Channel3000.Com, April 1, 2003.

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