What States Have the Right to Hunt and Fish?
Nineteen states currently guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions. While Vermont’s language dates back to 1777, the rest of these constitutional provisions – in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – have passed since 1996.
Additionally, there are other states that have some form of similar protections in place.
California and Rhode Island have language in their respective constitutions guaranteeing the right to fish, but not to hunt. Advocates also consider Alaska’s constitutional language—“Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use”—as meeting the test because of its strong case law history.
Florida has included the right to hunt and fish in state statutes but has not taken the step of adding an amendment to the state constitution.
Nevada passed language to amend its constitution to include the right to hunt and fish in 2015, but the language will not be effective until passed by the 2017 Legislature and approved by voters at the 2018 General Election.
In November 2016, Indiana and Kansas voters approved right to hunt and fish amendments. Similar legislation preserving the constitutional right to hunt and fish is currently pending in Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York.
Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, and West Virginia introduced legislation on the constitutional right to hunt and fish issue in 2016, but did not pass.