Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.
Constitutional amendment [to the North Carolina Constitution] protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife reads as follows:
“This amendment would acknowledge the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, and to use traditional methods to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. The amendment does not define “traditional methods.” This right would be subject to laws passed by the Legislature and rules (i) to promote wildlife conservation and management and (ii) to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. If it passes, the amendment will not affect any laws regarding trespassing, property rights or eminent domain. The amendment does not address its effect on local laws concerning public safety or on commercial hunting and fishing.”
The concerns are that it enshrines the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife by traditional means, indefinitely. This seems superfluous, since no efforts have been to limit hunting or fishing. “By traditional means” is undefined, and could allow practices that are cruel to animals like leg traps, dynamite and poison. “The amendment does not address its effect on local laws concerning public safety or on commercial hunting and fishing.” It is also unclear how the amendment impacts existing limits, such as Sunday hunting, hunting in neighborhoods or parks, or types of animals permitted (e.g., endangered species). Does this encourage overfishing of the Ablemarle Sound?
It’s important to note that constitutional amendments are almost impossible to undo and they set the standards for the state, overriding local government. A constitutional amendment overrides local government’s ability to set right-sized limits or standards. Amendments generally explain themselves and clear up confusion so voters can be sure what their vote matches their intentions. This amendment fails to explain itself when it states: “The amendment does not define “traditional methods.”
Because of the Pandora’s box of possibilities that it allows, and the amount of effort required to undo an amendment, should we have concerns in the future, we encourage you to vote carefully and thoughtfully. But most importantly, we encourage you to vote.