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todd_grainger
11-02-2010, 05:29 PM
Ok, so I voted today, and saw the small proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution regarding Hunting and Fishing. I have seen a couple of articles in our local (Chattanooga) paper, and on several on-line news sites about this. However, in reading it I still could not reasonably figure out WHY this needs to be added, and I am a high school US History/Government teacher!! I get what it means, I just don't know why we need to add this to our state Constitution. I figured someone on here would know. So I pose this question to you all.....why is this needed? If this is voted down, does that change anything for Hunters/Fishers in TN? And, what is the reason this was proposed in the first place? Thanks in advance for your replies....

Mr. Todd Grainger
Chattanooga, TN
East Hamilton High School

tennswede
11-02-2010, 05:50 PM
My take on this: I assume it's to be proactive. If this pass the legislature can't vote for a change of the constitution as to ban hunting and fishing in TN. If it doesn't pass it won't change anything, but it leaves the constitution open for future legislature changes with respect to banning hunting and fishing. It's a move to preempt several anti hunting and fishing organizations and the possibility that the right will be taken away in the future.

kentuckytroutbum
11-02-2010, 06:10 PM
Todd-

I not specifically familiar with the proposed TN amendment, but the NRA-ILA did have a brief article on it prior to the election.

Hunting & Fishing is controlled by the individual states, and the ISSUANCE of a license is considered a priviledge in most states. And the state could potentially refuse to issue a license for a valid reason, though I doubt that they would do that, unless you were mentally incompetent or such thing.

Its my understanding that this amendment is to protect hunters & fisherpersons from harrassment, verbal abuse, and even violence directed at them from some extreme eco- groups such as PETA, Greenspeace etc. Laws can be changed, but a state constitutional amendment is a lot more difficult to change or remove once its on the books. It would be easier to prosecute a protestor in state court, than a local court, and would probably carry a stiffer jail sentence.

For example, KY F&W is self funded by license fees, and federal fees from the Robertson-Pittman act, no operating funds come from the General Fund. Any threat to these fees would put the KYF&W in jeopardy of managing the wildlife resources. Protestors could discourage and disrupt the lawfull use of these resources, and thus the income to the F&W.

Bill

tennswede
11-02-2010, 06:35 PM
I just voted tonight, no it's not about harassment, abuse etc. It is to stop the legislature from changing the constitution as I said in my previous post. Right now it's not a right like you said but this amendment will make it such.

TN has harassment laws on the books already.

Crockett
11-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Luckily the founding fathers had the foresight to put things like the 2nd ammendment in our constitution. I am sure at that time they could have very easily said "we don't need that everyone has a gun and no one is threatening to take them away so putting that in there won't change anything"... A little foresight is sometimes a wonderful thing. I think protecting hunting and fishing in the state constitution for our Grandchildren is a good thing.

Knothead
11-03-2010, 07:39 AM
Tennessee already has an anit-harrassment law on the books. This prevents the animal rights people from deliberately interrupting or disturbing your hunt. In the past, the animal rights people would walk through the woods during deer season with bells, whistles, and horns to scare the wildlife. They have been known to poison dog food, hoping your hunting dogs would eat it. The amendment is to keep them from banning hunting and fishing completely. You might check out businesses that you deal with and see what organizations they support with the money you spend with them. I started to go into a health food store to get some brewer's yeast to make some flea-resistant doggie treats. I saw a bunch of stickers in the window by the front door. One was for the Humane Society of the USA, a blatant anti-hunting group. I turned around and went elsewhere. A couple of years ago, the NRA had a listing of a bunch of companies that supported the anti groups.

NDuncan
11-03-2010, 09:30 AM
The Tennessee amendment passed by a HUGE majority (90%)
http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Tennessee_Hunting_Rights_Amendment_%282010%29

Arkansas approved a similar amendment by and (85%) majority.
http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Arkansas_Hunting_Rights_Amendment,_Issue_1_%282010 %29

South Carolina passed one by an 89% majority

http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/South_Carolina_Hunting_and_Fishing_Amendment_%2820 10%29

However, An Arizona amendment failed in this regard by a 56% majority

http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Arizona_Hunting_Amendment_%282010%29

These three states will join 14 others that have already passed similar amendments:

http://www.tnwfconservation.org/component/content/article/14-right-to-hunt-and-fish/14-other-states-with-right-to-hunt-and-fish-protections

kentuckytroutbum
11-03-2010, 10:02 AM
Cool! Glad those amendments passed! A great day for hunting & fishing. Sorry about Arizona!

Bill

Bfish
11-03-2010, 10:13 AM
I thought the amendment was poorly worded and unnecessarily places restrictions on our rights by specifically defining on our rights. Especially when it pertains to wading.

NDuncan
11-03-2010, 10:35 AM
I thought the amendment was poorly worded and unnecessarily places restrictions on our rights by specifically defining on our rights. Especially when it pertains to wading.

The exact wording:
"The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state's power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species."

Please explain what you mean, because I don't see where you are are getting restrictions being placed on our rights out of that? By specifically saying that it doesn't supersede private/public property rights?

Bfish
11-03-2010, 10:48 AM
It acknowledges that waters can be privately owned. My understanding of the case law in TN, is that flowing waters being privately owned is not well defined. This "cornerstone" amendment provides blanket protection to the privateers. No wading is IMO going to become common and no floating areas may also be come more routine.

NDuncan
11-03-2010, 11:47 AM
It acknowledges that waters can be privately owned. My understanding of the case law in TN, is that flowing waters being privately owned is not well defined. This "cornerstone" amendment provides blanket protection to the privateers. No wading is IMO going to become common and no floating areas may also be come more routine.


You are wrong, unless the US supreme court ever reverses its decision that all navigable rivers in the US are 'held in trust by the states' for the public up to the high water mark. They have also determined that any river is navigable, even only by a kayak/canoe or other small craft and that barriers, such as dams or waterfalls do not make then unnavigable if it is possible to take out, and put in around the barrier. The supreme court has also made the rulings on the basis of use for recreation, fishing, and navigation. You may also be on the shoreline below the high water mark. Even if the river flows though private property, the river, up to the high water mark belongs to the public. This is a federal standard and no state law may supersede it.

http://www.adventuresports.com/river/nors/states/tn-law.htm
http://www.waldensridgewhitewater.com/accessrights.htm

Tennessee state law:

69-1-101. Navigable waters are highways.
All navigable waters are public highways, including those declared navigable by special law.
[Code 1858, 1299; Shan., 1808; Code 1932, 3074; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), 70-101.]


Declared Navigable waters in TN:
http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/cof/pdf (http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/cof/pdf/Tennessee%20River%20Section%2010.pdf)
/Tennessee%20River%20Section%2010.pdf (http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/cof/pdf/Tennessee%20River%20Section%2010.pdf)

http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/cof/pdf/Cumberland%20River%2010.pdf

I remember earlier this year Byron was talking about the possibility of some townsend property owners wanting to close the river because of tubers, but if you notice in the first link, Little from elkmont down to its mouth is designated as navigable, and thus even if townsend property owners have a deed that says they own up to the middle of the river, they don't. They only own to the high water mark, as determined by the State Appeals court back in 2000.
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/opinions/tca/PDF/014/CityofMurfreesboro.pdf

Crockett
11-03-2010, 12:13 PM
I have to go with Byron on this he said the ammendment was a great thing for hunters and fisherman and repeatedly urged us fly fisherman to vote for it in his fishing reports. I am quite sure he wouldn't do that if it was really some sort of sly trick to restrict wading across private waters.

Read today's fishing report it may help some of you better understand the importance of this: http://littleriveroutfitters.com/pages/fishing/report.htm

ChemEAngler
11-03-2010, 12:44 PM
I too consider it a victory. In these times when everybody is looking for someone to file a lawsuit against, I think it is in our best interest to be proactive and address the issues before they become reality.

Click on the link below for a lengthy discussion about property owner's rights relating to streambed ownership on the SoHo:

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12464&highlight=South+Holston+Wading

I believe that there was a similar discussion regarding Little River in Townsend, and Byron stated that in Townsend some property owner's do actually own the river bottom.

I don't see how this amendment affects a set of laws regarding property ownership, those of which are completely unrelated.

Bfish
11-03-2010, 03:31 PM
...

I don't see how this amendment affects a set of laws regarding property ownership, those of which are completely unrelated.
If the stream flows through private property, it could be closed to wading and possible float fishing. The amendment acknowledges that property "right" in a legal sense and I don't agree with that property right.

NDuncan
11-03-2010, 04:04 PM
I believe that there was a similar discussion regarding Little River in Townsend, and Byron stated that in Townsend some property owner's do actually own the river bottom.

I don't see how this amendment affects a set of laws regarding property ownership, those of which are completely unrelated.

The deeds may in fact state that the property line goes to the middle of the stream. In the Murfreesboro case I posted above, the courts ruled that the deeds description didn't matter, because the land in question was on the Stone's river, and was declared navigable, just as LR from elkmont on down has been, and thus the stream to the high water mark belonged to the public. The issue in the case was the city was purchasing a strip of land along the river for a greenway, the owner wanted to be paid for the acreage of the land + 1/2 the river, but the city said the river wasn't his to sell and the courts agreed.

The main issue when dealing with this is that even when the law is on your side, it may require going to court to prove it. And I doubt anyone wants that hassle. I think the real issue with regard to the property intent of the amendment is hunting. It is saying that even though you have the right to hunt, you can't just hunt on anyone's private property.

Bfish
11-03-2010, 04:07 PM
You are wrong, unless the US supreme court ever reverses its decision that all navigable rivers in the US are 'held in trust by the states' for the public up to the high water mark. Unfortunately there is about 3x the number of declared navigable streams that have not been deemed navigable in TN. Including streams such as Harpeth, Collins, Calfkiller, Caney, most of the Sequatchie, headwaters of the Buffalo, and most any tributary creek.

Your correct though, on navigable rivers we generally have the right to wade to the high water mark, although even that is sometimes controversial.

Also just because one can float a stream in a boat does not make it navigable. In most cases it takes a legal opinion, which usually requires interstate commerce to have taken place in the past. Rarely is float-ability a consideration.

EDIT, ah you posted while I was typing.

Crockett
11-03-2010, 08:08 PM
Well I had no idea there was this problem with it. I was one of the 90% of Tennesseans who were duped into voting for this I guess. Thanks for enlightening us Bfish I just wish you had posted something about this before the vote though.

Bfish
11-03-2010, 10:20 PM
...Thanks for enlightening us Bfish ..... Just my interpretation. Hopefully I am wrong. The intent of the amendment is good, I just think the wording is weak.

Jim Casada
11-04-2010, 07:35 PM
Todd--It's basically a pre-emptive move, and something like a dozen other states have taken similar steps (our amendment here in S. C. passed big-time yesterday). It's doesn't totally cast things in concrete, but it does serve to make anti-fishing and anti-hunting forces have additional barriers to surmount in their ongoing attack on these rights. If you want scads more detail, go to the National Shooting Sports Foundation's web site or do some other Internet research.
Oddly enough, your argument or concern is almost precisely the one our highly liberal local newspaper used in coming out in opposition to the amendment.
I follow these things pretty closely, and anyone who thinks our sporting rights aren't under assault isn't apying enough attention.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Knothead
11-05-2010, 08:31 AM
Glad it passed! I'm honored that I had a part in it. Yesterday, my 7 year old grandson asked about going turkey hunting. I told him we would have to wait until next spring. Now all 5 of my grandchildren can hunt and fish in Tennessee (have another little one due next April).