Seward Bill Protects Sportsmen's Rights

ALBANY, 06/21/11 – The New York State Senate recently passed legislation (S.2382-A) that for the first time in state history would protect the right to hunt, trap and fish in New York.  The legislation, sponsored by Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta), calls for a state constitutional amendment protecting the long-standing outdoor traditions.

“New York’s outdoor sporting traditions have deep roots,” stated Senator Seward.  “Protecting the fundamental rights to hunt, trap and fish through a state constitutional amendment would ensure their continuation for generations to come.”

According to the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006, annual expenditures for wildlife related recreation totaled over $3.5 billion in New York.

“Sportsmen generate a great deal of economic activity across the state, supporting bait and tackle shops, lodges and camps, guide services, hotels and motels, and many other businesses dependent on the outdoor sports industry.  New York State also takes in a fair share of income from outdoorsmen through the sale of sporting licenses, not to mention associated sales and income taxes,” added Seward. 

New York has also invested considerable sums of tax dollars in the acquisition of land for outdoor recreation, including canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing rights and hunting.  Habitat restoration projects, construction and maintenance of hatcheries and other environmentally sound projects are also funded by the state.

“Recognizing the rights to hunt, trap and fish in the state constitution will protect the time-honored pastimes, ensure the future viability of state land and guarantee a steady revenue stream for our state and outdoor businesses,” Seward concluded.

The amendment would take effect after approval by two separately elected legislatures and statewide voter approval at a general election.

The bill has been to the assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.