Back to List

Constitutional Right to Hunt, Fish and Spend

October 21, 2015
Ben Carter - DSC

Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional lifestyles or weekend hobbies in Texas. They’re an economic force. Consider these statistics:

▪ 2.7 million people hunt or fish in Texas, more than the population of Houston (2.1 million).

▪ $4.1 billion is spent annually on hunting and fishing in Texas, a business nearly twice the size of our state’s second-largest agricultural commodity, cotton ($2.3 billion).

▪ 65,000 Texas jobs are supported by hunting and fishing, more than Dell, the University of Texas-Austin and MD Anderson Cancer Center combined (59,000 jobs).

▪ $415 million in state and local tax revenue is generated from hunting and fishing in Texas, enough to support the average salaries of 8,100 police officers.

Imagine the impacts if it all went away!

Well-funded animal rights and anti-hunting organizations are chipping away at hunting and fishing. Publicity stunts, frivolous lawsuits, exploiting the Endangered Species Act, misleading petitions and ballot initiatives backed by millions of dollars in emotional advertising are the tools of their trade.

And they’ve proven effective in several states.

Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are no longer allowed to control wolf populations through hunting.

Dove hunting was stopped in Michigan. Hunting cougars was outlawed in California, and now residents can’t even import mountain lions taken legally in other states.

In Maine, bear management via hunting is under regular attack, in spite of the fact that bear populations are at historic highs.

It’s only a matter of time before such shenanigans are tried in Texas.

Proposition 6 is an opportunity to ward off future assaults. Eighteen states already have passed right-to-hunt-and-fish amendments, and they’re working.

In Nebraska, less than two years after giving the wildlife commission authority to open a season on cougars, an indecisive legislature tried to repeal the hunt. Gov. Dave Heineman’s veto stopped the measure.

His rationale was the state’s right-to-hunt constitutional amendment, passed in 2012. Heineman said legislatively banning a hunt appeared to violate a provision of the law stating that hunting “is the preferred means” of managing wildlife, and he did not wish to go against Nebraskans’ intent.

Texas is a unique sporting stronghold. We have the most hunters of any state. Only Florida has more anglers.

If hunting and fishing suddenly went away, current statistics from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation show Texas would lose $11.3 million in spending — daily.

Over the course of a year, the rippling effect would be a staggering $7.2 billion blow to our home state.

Early voting is now open.  Click here to learn more about Proposition 6: