TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Should hunting and fishing be protected rights for people in Indiana? This is a question all voters in Indiana will see on their ballots this election.
For William Tharp hunting is a way of life.
“Started bow hunting when I was 14 and can’t put one down anymore,” said Tharp.
He along with other hunters believe hunting and fishing should be a protected right in Indiana.
“If it comes down to putting something down on the ballot to say forever we are going to have the right to do this we need to do that,” said Tharp.
Hoosiers will see this topic on their ballot this year. The question asks if hunting and fishing should be the preferred method of wildlife conservation.
“I feel like if we don’t do something where it’s in writing that we can, someone down the line is going to try and take that right away from us,” said Tharp.
The Hoosier Environmental Council’s Senior Policy Director, Tim Maloney says the proposed amendment is unnecessary.
“We don’t really think that fishing and hunting rise to a level of activity that should get constitutional protection, compared to the very basic and universally shared rights like the right to freedom of speech and right to freedom of religion.”
The organization says Hoosiers should vote no to the amendment because of three reasons. One, there is no threat to hunting or fishing. Second, these activities shouldn’t get the same level of protection like freedom of speech. Third, there could be unintended consequences in the future because the state will have to meet a higher burden of proof to create restrictions on wildlife conservation.
Phil Bloom, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources Director of Communications told News 10 it would have no impact on how they handle wildlife. He says the proposed amendment would not change their authority, therefore he says DNR has no position on the proposed amendment.
If the amendment passes, Indiana will be the 20th state with the right to hunt or fish in their constitution.
In order to have a public question on the ballot in Indiana, it must first pass the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives. Both bodies voted nearly 85% in favor of the amendment last year.
Now this is a decision that’s in the hands of Hoosiers on Election Day.