TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY
proposing an amendment to the constitution, in relation to the right
to hunt, trap and fish
PURPOSE: To provide within the New York State Constitution a right of
the people to hunt, trap and fish.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: A new Article Twenty would be added to the
state constitution to ensure the right of the law-abiding citizen to
hunt, trap and fish subject to reasonable regulation by the state.
JUSTIFICATION: The roots of hunting, fishing and trapping go deep into
the soil of our American experience. A way of life to Native Americans
and European settlers and sources of food and commerce, they have
since matured beyond their subsistence origins to become revered
outdoor pastimes enjoyed by 1.7 million New Yorkers and visitors for
the pleasure, challenge, companionship, food and additional income
that OUT outdoor sporting traditions provide.
New York's outdoor sporting traditions have a significant impact on
New York's economy as well. According to the 1996 National Survey of
Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the
U.S. departments of Interior and Commerce, recreational anglers and
hunters spent more than $2.5 billion in pursuit of their pastimes in
New York in 1996. New York hunters and anglers annually spend millions
of dollars for goods and services provided by businesses located
throughout the state. Apart from the cost of their sporting licenses,
outdoorsmen's expenditures support jobs, generate sales and income
taxes, and are integral parts of the tourism industry. Hunters and
anglers come from all over the United States to fish legendary
Catskill and Adirondack streams and enjoy the thrill of the ruffed
grouse or American woodcock flushing in our many forests and state
wildlife management areas.
Sportsmen spend money for equipment, bait and tackle, hotels and
motels, restaurants, lodges and camps, grocery and hardware stores,
vehicles, boats, fuel and guide services. The survey found that these
expenditures and their associated economic impact supported 43,000
jobs and generated $100 million in state sales taxes and $32 million
in state income taxes in New York State in 1996.
New York has invested considerable sums of tax dollars in the
acquisition of land for outdoor recreation, including canoeing,
kayaking and hiking, fishing rights, and hunting; as well as the
construction and maintenance of hatcheries. Habitat restoration
projects, funded by the state, are designed in part to enhance fish
spawning and the proliferation of game species.
Because of the public dollars and license fees that have supported
game reintroductions and habitat improvements, the increasing
suburbanization of the state, continued loss of open and wild areas,
the distance between the population and our subsistence roots, and
their foundation in our culture and history, particularly in our rural
areas, the time honored and respected pastimes of hunting, fishing and
trapping should be recognized in our constitution as rights of the
Currently, the state's environmental conservation law declares that
the state owns and manages game and wildlife (§ 11-0105) and preempts
local governments from regulating or managing wildlife species or
seasons (§ 11-0111). The proposed amendment does not alter the
relationship between the state and local governments in the regulation
and management of fish and game, nor does it prohibit local
governments from delineating appropriate uses for their
municipally-owned property, such as parks . By enshrining the state's
statutory policy in the constitution, the right to engage in outdoor
pursuits will be protected by an act of the people and not be subject
to the one-time act of an adverse legislature when, for a moment in
time, traditional outdoor pastimes might fall out of favor.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.2382-A of 2011-12; S.3049 of 2009-10; S2639 of
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This amendment would take effect upon approval of the
voters at a general election succeeding the passage of such amendment
by two separately elected legislatures.