Oppose The “Right to Hunt” Amendment

Speak out against the proposed “Right to Hunt” Amendment to the Ohio Constitution. 

OAA PROGRAM AREA: Wildlife Protection 

ACTION LEVEL: State

Ohio HJR5 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that intends to give Ohioans “the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife” and “includes the right to use traditional methods”. HJR5 also states that only laws prescribed by the General Assembly can promote wildlife conservation and management or preserve the future of hunting and fishing, and that hunting and fishing should be the preferred means of wildlife management in Ohio. 

HJR5 uses extreme language when compared to other similar right to hunt amendments seen in other states. This extreme language would cause many complications, especially when it comes to the regulatory authority of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), existing statutes and regulations, governance issues, law enforcement, and land use. It is even possible that the strong language of this amendment may cause it to infringe on other basic rights, such as the right for Ohioans to bring ballot initiatives on matters related to hunting and wildlife preservation.

This amendment also seeks to mislead people in order to make controversial hunting methods constitutionally protected, such as trapping, baiting, and hounding. Using the phrase “traditional methods” protects these methods as a constitutional right without ever mentioning them. These methods are under scrutiny by the public and are largely seen as inhumane, and if these methods were stated outright in the amendment, it would garner less support. 

HJR5 would also put severe limitations on the authority of ODNR, the General Assembly, and the public to manage wildlife responsibly. Unlike many other right to hunt amendments, HJR5 does not contain a section that preserves the power of the state fish and wildlife management authorities. This points to an effort to remove regulatory authority from ODNR. The language also severely limits the authority of the General Assembly, giving it only the authority to pass laws to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “preserve the future of hunting and fishing”. Finally, the language of HJR5 makes Ohioans unable to put forward ballot initiatives related to issues of hunting or wildlife management. 

What You Can Do:

Contact your State Representatives and urge them to oppose Ohio HJR5 using the sample letter below. You can find your Representatives here.

Share this Action Alert on social media to raise awareness, educate, and encourage your family, friends, and co-workers in Ohio to contact their State Representatives about this amendment!

Take Action:

Dear Representative _____, 

The proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution, HJR5, which intends to give Ohioans the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, is deeply flawed.

HJR5 contains language far stronger than right to hunt amendments of other states, which may infringe on the authority of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to manage wildlife effectively, the ability of the General Assembly to effectively pass laws regarding wildlife management or hunting, or even on the rights of Ohioans to bring forward ballot initiatives regarding wildlife management, wildlife conservation, or hunting. 

HJR5 also intends to constitutionally protect controversial methods of hunting such as trapping, baiting, and hounding by using the phrase “traditional methods.” This misleading language may lead people to support the amendment without understanding exactly what it entails. 

Finally, this amendment creates uncertainty with its unclear language. This amendment could come into conflict with existing statutes or regulations, make it difficult to prosecute poachers, cause issues with existing wildlife control methods, and have an unknown impact on other uses of land and water. Hunting is not under attack in Ohio, and this extreme measure could cause significant damage to ODNR’s wildlife management authority.

I urge you to oppose HJR5, and I look forward to your response on this important issue. 

Sincerely,

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