By Katie Grovatt, Reporter
Texans will be given the chance to vote on a proposed amendment that would give citizens the official right to hunt and fish. If gained a majority support by voters on Nov. 3, the legislation will amend Section One, Article I of the Texas Constitution.
The proposed amendment reads: “The people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” This amendment would ensure for future generations the claimed fundamental right of hunting and fishing.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott is in full support of the proposed amendment. He believes Texans know fully how to conserve natural resources and thrive of the “bounty of land” provided by the environment. He says that it is important to protect this knowledge and protect Texans connection to the land for future generations.
“We need to act now so no special-interest group can come in and try to strip away your rights,” Abbott wrote in a guest column for the Amarillo Globe News.
Baylor students have differentiating views on the proposed amendment. Crawford sophomore John Urbanovsky believes that by being given the formal right, it will ensure not only the enjoyment of hunting and fishing with his future children, but allow generations to come to continue to learn the importance of conserving wildlife and utilizing a firearm.
“This will help us as Texas citizens to be able to continue to bear arms, as well as being able to teach our children and our children’s children how to truly conserve wildlife and the proper use of a firearm,” Urbanovsky said.
Urbanovsky said without a formal right specified under state law, Texans’ right to hunt and fish could be snatched away in the years to come. He believes this could endanger the environment and be detrimental to the safety of citizens.
“If we don’t continue to hunt and fish there will be too many animals, which will eventually start coming into towns and they could potentially become hazards,” Urbanovsky said.
Crawford senior Tyler Nemec disagrees with the necessity of implementing the informal right into written law. He says that such legislation would simply be putting words on paper while all laws and regulations to hunting stay the same.
“It changes nothing except possibly allowing poachers to argue they are in the right,” Nemec said.
Nemec said such a proposition is simply apart of a strategic plan to gain votes around election time. But practically, he feels that it could give some citizens the idea that they have free reign to hunt without proper education such as gun safety knowledge, seasonal awareness, and basic animal conservation education.
“People are already stupid enough. They don’t think through laws we have. Why seemingly dumb it down?” Nemec said.
“Constitutional rights should come out of necessity. Owning a gun is a necessity to protect yourself from the government. [But] while hunting may have been a necessity 100 years ago, it’s not today.” Nemec said.
Texas voters will decide the fate of the proposed legislation as well as six other propositions on Nov. 3rd. Other propositions include a permit for professional sports teams to conduct charitable raffles, a property tax exemption to widows of disabled veterans, and a repeal of the necessity of state officers to be Austin citizens. For a full list of the proposed amendments, go to votetexas.gov.
Early voting will end on October 30. In order to vote at the polls, a valid Texas Department of Public Safety or United States government issued photo ID is required.