An unnecessary revision

Published 6:10 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

To the Editor:
The NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s many regulations and reporting systems were created “to conserve and sustain … fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input.” Does the language of the Hunting and Fishing amendment interfere with this mission? I can’t be sure.
The amendment says, “Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” What does this phrase mean — “a preferred means?” Who determines the “means?” Legislators? Hunters? Fishermen? Will Nature’s “means,” in place for hundreds of years, be considered, disregarded, or overwritten? Surely we all understand the importance of working with natural laws if we hope to leave the planet habitable for our children.
The amendment would guarantee the “right to use traditional methods … to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.” Again, I have questions: What are “traditional methods?” Does this language open the door to other methods such as poison, gillnetting or traps considered illegal now?
Some of my fondest memories are of fishing on the Pamlico River with my dad. Never a hunter myself, I do respect the hunting privileges afforded our citizens.
Until recently hunting and fishing were thought of as privileges. Now our General Assembly wants to rewrite this privilege into a constitutional “right.” Is this wise, to make a sport, even a sport that can put food on the table, a “right?” What comes next? The right to garden? The right to play football, own a pet or erect a birdhouse? A constitutional amendment is a big deal. Why reimagine a practice already in place into a constitutional amendment? Why convolute our Constitution with unnecessary revision?
Voting NO to this amendment would not effectively change anything, but voting YES might open a can of worms (and not for fishing…). I urge you to vote NO to the Hunting and Fishing amendment, not because I’m against hunting and fishing, but because I’m for clarity of thought and purpose.

Sue Jefferson