State constitutional protection of Tennesseans' right to hunt and fish passed unanimously in the Senate Thursday and is on track to go to voters this fall, according to Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson.
“This is an important day not just for the thousands of sportsmen in Tennessee, but for anyone who supports the protection and conservation of our natural resources,” Sen. Jackson said.
Sportsmen spend more than $1.3 billion annually on hunting- and fishing-related expenses in Tennessee, according to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau data. Many of those dollars support the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which protects endangered species and natural areas throughout the state. Sen. Jackson said those funds directly preserve jobs and opportunities for families and small businesses.
The constitutional amendment passed 31-0 after its third and final reading Thursday. Pending House approval, the amendment will go to a public ballot this November, where it will require a simple majority of the voters who cast a vote in the governor’s race.
The amendment provides for the personal right to hunt and fish within state laws and property rights. It allows for hunting and fishing of non-threatened species through traditional means, “consistent with the state's duty to honor this heritage and its duty to conserve and protect game and fish.”
"All of Tennessee benefits when a parent takes a child hunting and fishing, as opposed to taking a child to a shopping mall," Sen. Jackson said. "The tradition of hunting and fishing is worth defending."
The text of the amendment can be found HERE.