Voters in at least three states will decide whether to enshrine a right to hunt in constitutions. Critics see the measures as a political 'wedge' issue.
Little Rock, Ark.
Mark Simpson ventures into the woods every weekend during deer season. He began hunting with his dad 35 years ago and says he can't imagine a time when hunting would be banned.
"Entire families get together every year," says Mr. Simpson of Little Rock, Ark. "There is a fellowship element."
Worries that hunting will one day be banned or restricted – the result of the work of animal rights activists or of "liberals" in control of Congress – are leading more states to establish "a right to hunt and fish" in their state constitutions. This year, residents of Tennessee, Arkansas, and South Carolina will vote on right-to-hunt initiatives, and North Carolina and other states may yet add hunting-related constitutional amendments to their ballots. [Editor's note: This sentence was changed to reflect the fact that North Carolina does not currently have a right-to-hunt amendment on the ballot. The gun lobby plans in May to push the legislature to add one.]
"It's better to be safe on the front end than wait and deal with the problem when it's too late," says Steve Faris (D), an Arkansas legislator who sponsored a ballot measure to make hunting a constitutional right here. "Hunting is a right that is a given, but it could be taken away – especially when we see more lawsuits asking for all kinds of hunting to be banned."
Page 1 of 4