With Pennsylvania’s big game hunting seasons coming up through the next couple months a piece of legislation on the House of Representative’s calendar when they return to Harrisburg on Monday seems particularly fitting. Introduced March 9 by Rep. Matt Baker (Tioga and part of Bradford counties), House Bill 575 proposes an amendment to the state Constitution that would forever preserve the right to hunt, fish and harvest game.
The bill is proposed as an amendment to Article I of the Constitution, which defines the inherent rights of Pennsylvania’s citizens. Those rights include religious freedom, the right to enjoy and defend one’s life, the right to a trial by jury, freedom of press and speech, security from searches and seizures, the right to bear arms, and so forth. Baker and those supporting his bill believe that one’s right to hunt, fish and harvest game is also an inherent right.
“This amendment would insure for future generations that the time-honored, family-oriented tradition and activity of hunting and fishing will continue unabated by constitutional protection against legal challenges to eliminate hunting or fishing,” said Baker.
This is not the first time Baker has introduced this proposal; in 2003-04 he brought this same proposal before the House, which passed it by a vote of 189-11. The Senate, however, never brought it up for a vote.