Constitutional protection for Nebraska hunters &

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January 11, 2003

Protection proposed for hunting, fishing

BY LESLIE REED, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

LINCOLN - Hunting, fishing and trapping would be constitutionally protected in Nebraska under a measure offered Friday by State Sen. Ed Schrock of Elm Creek.

The constitutional amendment was one of nearly 240 pieces of legislation introduced in the first three days of the Nebraska Legislature's session.

Schrock said he doesn't know of any threats to hunting, fishing and trapping in Nebraska. He said the amendment is an effort to prevent hunters and other sportsmen from being harassed.

"It's a way of life. I grew up with it," he said. "If there's people that think it's a good idea, I say go for it. Put it there (in the Constitution) and be done with it."

Legislative Resolution 4CA would "preserve the right to fish, trap and hunt, subject to reasonable restriction as prescribed by law."

Seven other states have enacted similar constitutional provisions: Alabama, California, North Dakota, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Wisconsin is preparing one for voters.

Mike Hutchinson of Lincoln, chairman of the Nebraska Sportsmen's Foundation, said hunting and fishing is a multimillion-dollar industry in the state that deserves to be constitutionally protected.

The Schrock amendment would not curtail the state's ability to regulate hunting, fishing and trapping.

A representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the Schrock amendment is frivolous.

"It isn't going to prompt or promote hunting, trapping and fishing," said Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife biologist for PETA in Norfolk, Va.

"It only encourages a flood of other amendments whose sole purpose is to make political statements for special-interest groups."

The amendment would go on the ballot in 2004 if approved by the Legislature.
 


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