Legislators push for right to hunt on November ballot

    9:42 AM, Sep 4, 2010   |    comments
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    It is an amendment to constitutionally establish the right to hunt, trap and harvest wildlife. Lawmakers voted to add the resolution last year and as Today's THV found out, hunters are adding their support ahead of their votes.

    It goes without saying, one of Arkansans favorite pastimes, is hunting "I just like the sport of it. It's kind of an adrenaline rush kind of thing," said Kyle Baxter.

    "I grew up hunting. It's been a family tradition," said Lee Noack.

    Beyond the leisure, the sport also brings in a lot of money to the state. Recently, though, concern has been growing quietly about whether the right to hunt could be threatened.

    "We are concerned that someone could take that right from us. It's a right that we have," said Noack, who was buying supplies for the upcoming hunting season.

    It is a growing national worry that already has pushed nine states to amend their constitutions. And now, the Arkansas legislature is hoping to do the same.

    "It makes it harder to change what we feel as our right as a citizen to hunt and fish and trap." said Senator Shane Broadway from Bryant. ,"I don't know where this is stemming from," Kay Simpson.

    Simpson is the director of the Pulaski County Humane Society.

    "At this point I think something that should be on the ballot that's way more important than taking away a right that no one wants to take away is sterilization of animals," said Simpson, who says the shelter is over capacity.

    Her sentiments are echoed by national animal advocates who think the measure is plainly ridiculous.

    The Humane Society of the United States sent THV a statement on behalf of their local director, Desiree Bender, saying, the measure is "a solution in search of a problem."

    But even comments like that have done little to quell the anxiety.

    For Noack, he's in favor of a pre-emptive move before a push to ban hunting becomes an actual problem.

    "If they put it on the ballot, I'll definitely vote for it," he said.

    Senator Steve Farris of Malvern pushed the "right to hunt" referendum.

    The house and senate also voted on two other constitutional amendments that will be on the November ballot.

    According to Broadway, one of the issues is in regards to state bonding procedures which would allow the state to issue bonds for economic development.

    The other proposal for voters deals with changes to Amendment 82 of the state constitution which was designed for "super-projects".

    Legislators hope to offer incentives to big companies looking to create over 500 jobs in the state.

    Visit the Secretary of State's website to see all the 2010 ballot measures.

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