Glenda Adams leaves a voting booth at the Trinity Fish and Game Club Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012 near Tollsboro, Ky. Kentuckians voted on an amendment to the state constitution protecting an individual’s right to hunt. (AP Photo/John Flavell)
Election news: Voters in four states support right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife
The Associated Press
Voters in Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wyoming supported ballot measures to guarantee the right to hunt and fish.
The measures passed overwhelmingly with at least three quarters of those casting ballots signaling their support.
Stories from Kentucky and Idaho are below. Also included are totals for all four states.
Hunting amendment wins in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky voters have approved a measure that makes hunting and fishing a constitutional right in the state.
With 25 percent of the vote counted Tuesday night, the constitutional amendment received approval from 307,765 voters, or 84.7 percent, and was rejected by 55,350, or 15.2 percent.
The effort is backed by the National Rifle Association, which has pushed similar measures in other states to try to prevent any possible future attempt to ban hunting. Some have said the amendment isn’t necessary because there’s no threat to eliminate hunting or fishing rights.
“I voted ‘yes’ to hunting because I believe there are wildlife hazards. I’ve almost hit several deer just in the past week and I know that some people make part of their livelihood that way,” said 22-year-old Rachel Yanko, a full-time student at Morehead State University and registered Democrat who works at a fast-food restaurant.
Clayton Lewis, a 75-year-old retiree and registered Republican from Morehead, described himself as a hunter who backed the amendment.
“Wildlife can be managed if they let the people manage it who know how,” Lewis said.
James Renfro, 31, a pharmacist and Democrat from Murray, voted against the measure.
“I disagree with the ridiculous view that the only means of regulating wildlife is killing,” Renfro said.
Idaho voters OK hunt, fish, trap amendment
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The right to hunt, fish and trap is now a constitutional right in Idaho.
Voters Tuesday overwhelmingly threw their support behind HJR2, the amendment that enshrines the collective right to hunt, fish and trap in the Idaho Constitution.
With 83 percent of the vote counted early Wednesday, the measure had approval from 74 percent of voters and was carried by overwhelming majorities in every Idaho county with the exception of Blaine County, where it was rejected by 65.3 percent of voters.
Idaho now joins 13 other states that had previously amended their constitutions to protect hunting and fishing. Voters in Kentucky and Nebraska also approved similar measures protecting hunting and fishing only, while Wyoming voters also mimicked Idaho and added trapping to their state constitution.
Idaho’s effort to amend the constitution got its start in the 2012 Idaho Legislature, where it won support from Republicans and Democrats. It also had the backing of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
Supporters argued that including protections in the constitution were essential to heading off any future attempt by animal rights groups or trapping critics to curtail or ban hunting, fishing and trapping in the state.
The amendment was also vetted by the Idaho Attorney General and worded in a way that enables lawmakers and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to continue managing hunting and fishing, to set bag limits and regulations and to modify how, where and when trapping can be used as a tool for taking wildlife.
Approval of HJR2 marks a setback for critics who challenged the need for including outdoor recreational activities in the constitution for a variety of reasons.
The inclusion of trapping energized opponents who believe trapping remains a controversial and inhumane practice and subject to evolving societal attitudes. For academics, the idea of making hunting, fishing and trapping a constitutional right is misguided. State or federal constitutions, they say, are best used to protect the rights shared by all citizens, such as voting or freedom of speech.
But voters across Idaho — where hunting and fishing are immensely popular and important economic drivers in small towns and rural communities — didn’t buy the opposition’s message Tuesday.
With 807 of the state’s 967 precincts reporting, yes votes for HJR2 outpaced the no votes by more than 241,000.
The amendment collected support from more than 80 percent of voters in 13 counties, including Benewah, Butte, Cassia, Franklin, Fremont, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka and Oneida.
Results from four states with ballot initiatives:
Guarantees the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.
864 of 967 precincts reporting - 89 percent
x-Yes, 405,040 - 74 percent
No, 142,777 - 26 percent
3620 of 3622 precincts reporting - 99 percent
x-Yes, 1,294,883 - 84 percent
No, 238,427 - 16 percent
x-Yes, 539,818 - 77 percent
No, 163,923 - 23 percent
x-Yes, 211,518 - 89 percent
No, 25,521 - 11 percent
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.