Letter: Let hunting remain the same as any other recreational activity

Editor:

I would like to urge my fellow voters to reject Proposition 109, the so-called "Right to Hunt" amendment. First of all, I want to clear up some misconceptions. Two of the candidates for the legislature in District 1 stated they supported 109 because of their support for the Second Amendment. The constitutional right to bear arms has nothing to do with hunting - it has to do with protecting yourself, your family, and your nation. Secondly, the failure of 109 to pass will not ban or seriously restrict your ability to hunt or fish in the state.

Proposition 109 is an attempt by the legislature to restrict the rights of voters to submit initiatives to the people. A number of years ago, Arizona voters chose to ban steel jawed leg-hold traps as unnecessarily cruel. These decisions would be removed from the public by 109, and since 109 mandates that the state cannot unreasonably restrict the use of traditional means of harvesting wildlife, these traps would likely return to legal use. The use of the wording "reasonable" or "unreasonable" in a constitutional amendment will result in seriously expensive litigation expense for the state every time it attempts to reduce the season or limit on a particular game animal.

Proposition 109 also mandates hunting and fishing as the preferred method for wildlife management. So much for science, wildlife biologists and ecologists. They might have a better grasp on wildlife management than the legislature or a commission stacked with sportsmen.

Hunting is a form of recreation. You can play golf, you can play baseball, you can hike in the mountains, or you can hunt. But these are not rights, they are privileges. In the interest of public health and safety, noise, parking, fires, water supply, etc. they can be restricted. And public health and safety, for people, pets and livestock, are especially important when deadly weapons are involved. My cousin in the Colorado mountains has to tie ribbons all over his brown horses during elk season so some drunken hunter doesn't mistake them for elk. It would seem reasonable for the state to restrict hunting while consuming alcohol, but Prop 109 might make that difficult. And it goes on.

Making hunting a right, like free speech or freedom of religion, is a mistake. Let hunting remain in the same status as any other recreational activity. Vote No on 109.

Bill Schramm

Cottonwood

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