Montana Lawmakers Reject New Constitutional Protections For Hunting, Fishing And Trapping

Apr 12, 2017

The Montana House of Representatives killed a bill today that would have asked voters to make hunting, fishing and trapping a Constitutional right. Senate Bill 236 passed the Senate on a 30-to-20 vote back in March.

The bill would have put the issue on the 2018 ballot. It would have also given the public preference in any hunting, fishing or trapping used for wildlife management.

The current language, which will remain, states that harvesting wild fish and game is a heritage that will always be maintained for Montana citizens. Neither the bill nor the current Constitution creates a right to trespass or diminish any other private rights.

Democratic Rep. Tom Jacobson of Great Falls says the bill would have dramatically changed what’s already in the Constitution.

“Why we would want to go out and meddle with something that is so simple, so clean and so effective is beyond me," says Jacobson.

The bill failed on a 48-51 vote.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.