The full text of the
Constitutional Amendment is as follows:
"The citizens of
Kentucky have the personal right to hunt,
fish, and harvest wildlife, using
traditional methods, subject only to
statutes enacted by the Legislature, and to
administrative regulations adopted by the
designated state agency to promote wildlife
conservation and management and to preserve
the future of hunting and fishing. Public
hunting and fishing shall be a preferred
means of managing and controlling wildlife.
This section shall not be construed to
modify any provision of law relating to
trespass, property rights, or the regulation
of commercial activities."
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Resources (KDFWR) fully supports passage of this
Amendment. This amendment provides the
opportunity for Kentuckians to establish a
constitutional right to be able to hunt, fish,
and harvest wildlife in Kentucky, and will
protect this heritage into the future.
Our department worked closely, during the 2011
General Assembly, with the sponsors of House
Bill 1, which established the ability to have
this ballot initiative during this election
year. Through these efforts, KDFWR was
able to insure the amendment will not
inadvertently impact our ability to properly
manage fish and wildlife resource in the
This constitutional amendment also includes
language that elevates hunting and fishing to "a
preferred means of managing and controlling
This amendment guarantees a right to hunt, fish
and harvest wildlife while continuing
protections for private property rights.
In other words, this constitutional
amendment in no way establishes a "right to
retrieve" option for hunters, or allows anglers
hunters or trappers to trespass on private
landowners' property for any reason. To
the contrary, current law requires that "Persons
shall not enter upon the lands of another to
shoot, hunt, trap, or fish, or for other
wildlife-related recreational purposes, without
the oral or written permission of the landowner,
tenant, or person who has authority to grant
permission." This law will not change with
passage of this Constitutional Amendment.
Currently, a person can hunt, fish and harvest
wildlife according to both state and local laws.
Establishing the constitutional right to "hunt,
fish and harvest wildlife using traditional
methods" will provide for a constant reminder
when developing laws, regulations and ordinances
that reasonable access to hunt, fish and harvest
wildlife is paramount.
This amendment is also supported by the League
of Kentucky Sportsmen, the National Rifle
Association, and countless other conservation
organizations in the Commonwealth.
At least 15 other states already have added
similar language to their constitutions that
guarantees their citizens the right to hunt,
fish, or harvest wildlife.