PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Game
Article XI, Conservation
New Section 4
"Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended by adding a provision concerning the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest game?"
FULL TEXT OF AMENDMENT
"Amend the Constitution of Virginia by adding in Article XI a section numbered 4 as follows:
"Section 4. Right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest game.
"The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law."
Present Constitution and Background
There is no provision in the present Constitution on the right to hunt, fish, or harvest game.
Under general legal principles, wild game and fish belong to the public. The Commonwealth has the power to regulate hunting and fishing in the public's interest. The General Assembly has passed many laws to regulate hunting, fishing, and trapping. Examples of these laws and regulations include provisions for hunting and fishing permits and licenses and limits on the times and seasons for hunting and fishing.
The proposed amendment adds a statement to the Constitution that "the people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game." That right is subject to regulations and restrictions that the General Assembly enacts by general law.
It will be the job of the General Assembly to define by law the scope of the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game and the limits on that right. Laws now regulating hunting and fishing will continue in effect subject to future changes passed by the General Assembly.
If the voters approve the proposed amendment, it will take effect January 1, 2001.