Sportsman’s Rights Amendment D-Day For Sportsmen

Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that the tradition of fishing and hunting and the taking of fish and wildlife shall be preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good?

GON Staff | November 1, 2006

When you head to the polls to vote on November 7, and we’ll just assume you’ll be like the vast majority of sportsmen and do just that, make sure you take your time and work through the entire ballot. You’ll start with the big ones — governor, lieutenant governor — but soon you’ll begin to wade through some progressively lesser-known races.

Keep working through that ballot. Toward the very end, there will be three proposed constitutional amendments and six proposed statewide referendums. Even if you skip the others that you probably know little about, please vote on Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2: TO PROTECT THE TRADITIONS OF FISHING AND HUNTING.

The outcome of this vote has the potential to impact sportsmen for years to come.

Several conservation groups in Georgia have been working to get the word out about the constitutional amendment and have formed Georgians for Outdoor Traditions (GOT). Sponsors include GON, Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA); Safari Club International, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited, and NRA.

Brian Murphy, executive director of QDMA, has taken a lead role in getting the constitutional amendment passed. He says sportsmen should make sure we don’t lose this vote.

“If it does not pass, my concern is that it will mark Georgia as the first state in the country where this amendment did not pass,” Brian said. “The animal-rights activists would then consider Georgia friendly territory and start going after what they consider the easy areas to gain broad support for, things like bear hunting, hunting deer with dogs, dove hunting — things that they consider fairly winnable issues.

“This is a one-time deal. It’s also the first issue I can recall among the sporting community in Georgia where everybody has gotten together on it. There are no dissenters among any hunting or fishing organization in the state. It clearly shows unity among sportsmen.”

Some sportsmen have stated they will vote against the amendment because of partisan politics. Brian warns to put aside those differences in this matter.

“You may not have asked for this referendum, but we have to win it. If we don’t, the long-term repercussions could be significant,” Brian said.

Fred Wammock, a GONetwork sportsman senator and a GOT board member, said nine other states have passed similar provisions. None have lost a vote — yet.

“If you look at what is happening in New Jersey with bear hunting and in Michigan with dove hunting, it is apparent that concerted actions by the anti-hunting organizations can have an adverse effect on our hunting and fishing traditions,” Fred said.

“I encourage all sportsmen to go to the polls on November 7 and vote yes for the constitutional amendment to protect hunting and fishing in Georgia. I also encourage that all sportsmen ask members of their family and their friends to do so,” he said.

“We are dependent upon the word getting out. Even if all of the hunters and fishermen in Georgia vote yes, we could still lose. Simply put, the amendment will be passed based upon the vote of non-hunters and non-fishermen. Help spread the word to vote yes on Constitutional Amendment 2,” Fred said.

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