FRANKFORT, Ky. - Voters overwhelmingly decided Tuesday that the right to hunt and fish should be protected by the Kentucky constitution.
The amendment passed with 84 percent of voters favoring to 16 percent opposed.
“This amendment takes what is now the privilege of hunting and fishing making it a right of the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Mark Nethery, president of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen and a supporter of the amendment.
The amendment, backed by the National Rifle Association, was viewed as a preemptive measure against any infringement on hunting and fishing. Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to use dogs to hunt bears and bobcats.
“Hunting and fishing is not currently under threat today in Kentucky, however there are many groups across the country whose goal is to do away with hunting and fishing,’ Nethery of Louisville, Ky. said before the election. “The approach of these groups is very organized, systematic and well funded.”
Opponents of the amendment argued there were far more important things to consider as constitutional amendments. Others said the amendment was geared to ensure more extremist Republicans turned out for the election. And some the amendment amounted to special interest groups making a statement and nothing more.
“These amendments are just ways for special interest groups to make a statement,” Ashley Byrne, campaign specialist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in New York, said. “They are a solution in search of a problem.”
While passage of the amendment would extend constitutional protection to hunting and fishing, still the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources would continue to regulate both.
Fourteen other states have amended their constitutions to protect hunting and fishing, according to the NRA.
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