Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Small Game

Virginia is considering to amend its state constitution. Soon, Virginians will have the unalienable right to hunt.

[ul][li]Washington Post article[/li][li]Virginia Constitution (ToC)[/ul][/li]

This is a hard push to the right for my state, following the asking schools to announce a moment of silence in the morning, and the fight to not control development.

Anyway, is this necessary? The US Constitution already affords the right to bear arms and there are only two legal things to use those arms for: shooting animals and shooting criminals. It’s not illegal to hunt in Virginia, and I doubt it will ever become illegal to do so. In fact we have so many dear here in Fairfax, we’ve tried to get more people to hunt the creatures down. Is rewriting the state constitution really necessary?

My guess is that people down state felt that the folks in the big cities (Northern Virginia) thought they would hire the jack-boots to come into their house and confiscate their rifles. Some of the legislators from upstate did suggest that guns shouldn’t be brought to school at all, even during hunting season. Some of those misguided lawmakers even had ideas for some environmental protection legislature. You know those laws that prevent you from cutting down every single tree in the state.

Maybe I’m making too big a deal of all of this. I hear there are quite a number of states out there with similar provisions in your constitutuion. (I’d like to hear from you.) There are still ways to have some effectve controls on gun use. (Even though there is a concealed weapons law on the book, I think you need to have a permit to have one).

Alright, have fun.

Tell a man that there are 400 billion stars and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint and he has to touch it.

Y’know, I think there was a similar amendment posed here in Minnesota. (I don’t even know what happened to it.) I seem to recall it was a knee-jerk reaction to the PETA people running around in the forest and making a bunch of noise during deer hunting season.

Or something like that.

The amendment does nothing to ensure it will never become so - as it can be repealed as easily as it can be passed. The purpose of this amendment is to help the reelection efforts of your state legislatures by appealing to the reactionary nature of their constituents.

There is nothing wrong with it - I have no problem with people hunting and for some animals (especially deer) it seems to be necessary. It is not meaningful in anyway however, except as another example of what is wrong with politics. Unnecessary, meaningless legislation passed for the sole purpose of providing campaign fodder is not my idea of efficient allocation of public resources.

“You can take my fishing rod and bait can only when you can pry it from my cold, dead fingers…”

Nope, that doesn’t sound quite right…

…send lawyers, guns, and money…

       Warren Zevon

It’s hard to get too excited about it-- you already have a right to hunt by statute (or the absence of a statutory prohibition). Now you have a constitutional right to hunt. Yawn.

Unlike the federal constitution, many state constitutions are just a general trash-heap of provisions that really belong in a statutory framework instead. Take New York, for example: citizens of the Empire State have a constitutional right to pari-mutuel horse race wagering. I dig the ponies and all, but for some reason I don’t equate putting $2 on No. 5 to win in the 3d at Belmont to be of the same importance as, oh, I don’t know, freedom of speech.

Many states make the constitution fairly easy to amend, and legislatures know enough to usually constrain the rights granted in an amendment to those “that the legislature shall so specify,” so as not to give every Johnny Shotgun the right to tell his employer to shove it for two weeks in turkey season because “its my constitutional right.”

“It’s like having a scalp massage… from Lucifer.”

The “rights” issue aside, many people don’t realize that, with the killing/driving off of the natural predators, there is little to keep the grass-eating animal population in check. Like Virginia’s deer population problem.

Hunting has become a necessary conservation program, unless anyone out there seriously advocates re-introducing wild cats and such to help cull the herds. I figure that idea would last as long as it takes one of those wild cats to learn that juvenile simian food-items fight back less effectively than a deer.

I laughed my ass off last year while working in Colorado Springs; seem this lady’s prize-winning topiary was getting gnoshed on pretty hard by some of the deer coming down from the hills during a dry spell. This lady got all upset and demanded that game wardens come and immediately kill these animals, and her situation made the local newspaper, only to find her house surrounded by PETAs.

One of the PETAs decided to try to pet one of the 8-point Bambis and got gored pretty badly; other PETAs tried to rescue their fallen friend and got chased down the street by the pissed-off buck. The warden finally shot it as a public nuissance.

The buck, that is, although I was momentarily hard pressed to decide between the well intentioned PETAs or the hungry deer population.

It’s gotten to the point in some areas that hunting may become a mandatory public duty, rather than a simple exercise of “rights”, or even of “priveleges”.


I guess, if you follow that to the logical end, the warden should’ve shot a few PETAs as well.

…send lawyers, guns, and money…

       Warren Zevon

[WAG]By making it a state constitutional “right”, it might degrade the ability of state fish & game authorities to do such things as set seasons, bag limits, etc… by regulation, and instead everytime the professional F&G managers want to alter the parameters for a given game species [not covered under Federal law, such as ducks], instead of changing the regulations for that year they’d have to go the the legislature.

In short, why let professionals make decisions about complex biological management when politicians can do it ?[/WAG]

Actually, it’s a device to keep local governments from regulating hunting - reserving that power to the government in Richmond.

It’s kinda funny, but when Virginians talk ‘states’ rights’, they’re not saying that power should devolve to the level of government closest to the people; they’re saying the Feds should stop telling Richmond what to do, but that the cities and counties have no business making any decisions for themselves; Richmond isn’t about to let any power devolve to them, thanks.

This Constitutional amendment would prevent the cities and counties from placing any limitations on hunting in addition to those passed by the state government.

That is one of those very spooky statements. It reminds me of hearing Justice Ginsburg talk about “the rights granted us by the Constitution”.


Thank you, thank you, Lib! :slight_smile: