A Constitutional Right To Hunt And Fish

Upstate Outdoors
October 12, 2018 - 11:15 am

Phillip Gentry

In 2009, the South Carolina General Assembly jointly wrote and prepared an amendment to the constitution of the state of South Carolina. The amendment centered around guaranteeing the citizens of the state the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife traditionally pursued. The amendment was placed on the state ballot during the 2010 general election and was passed by an overwhelming margin of 89%. 
Here it is written, section 25 of the The Constitution of The State Of South Carolina.

§ 25. Hunting and fishing. The traditions of hunting and fishing are valuable parts of the state's heritage, important for conservation, and a protected means of managing nonthreatened wildlife. The citizens of this State have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife traditionally pursued, subject to laws and regulations promoting sound wildlife conservation and management as prescribed by the General Assembly. Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate any private property rights, existing state laws or regulations, or the state's sovereignty over its natural resources.

One of the bases of the amendment is to protect the rights of the citizens of the state to public access for the purpose of hunting and fishing. Earlier this week, we saw yet again why outdoorsmen and women should covet this very important, but often overlooked right to our way of life.

Earlier in the week, social media reports indicated the Town Council of Edisto Beach, SC would be discussing an ordinance placing time limits on surf fishing on the beach. The topic for discussion was to ban surf fishing from 10 am until 4 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day due to safety issues and litter left behind.

Following the proposed topic of discussion, word spread on social media inviting anyone with interest to either attend the Thursday town council meeting or contact town council members to voice their opinion. 

Lively discussions ensued, mostly on social media, later with an appeal made by the town council not to post less than constructive comments on the towns Facebook page. 

Following the conclusion of the well-attended council meeting, the Town of Edisto Beach issued the following post on it’s Facebook page:

“At last night's Council meeting the following motion was made by Councilman Kizer, "I make the motion that the Town of Edisto Beach produce an informative brochure addressing the concerns that have been brought to the Town regarding surf fishing. This brochure will include consideration for swimmers, sunbathers and beach goers. It will also address the disposal of fishing debris and the proper placement of fishing rods on the beach when surf fishing. These brochures will be available to the public on the Town's website, Facebook page as well as through the Edisto Chamber of Commerce, rental agencies, EBPOA and all businesses, especially those selling beach and fishing equipment. The motion was passed unanimously.”

Similar attempts to limit public access to public areas have been attempted in the past in different areas of the state, several involved the same surf fishing/beach going conflict. Fortunately for sportsmen here in South Carolina, public resistance has been strong enough in favor of sportsmen to contradict such measures and restrictions.

Phillip Gentry is the host of “Upstate Outdoors,” broadcast from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays on WORD 106.3 FM. This week’s guest will be US Congressman Jeff Duncan from SC District 3.You can listen live online at 1063word.radio.com or via podcast anytime.
South Carolina’s 25th Constitutional Amendment guarantees it’s citizen’s public access to hunting and fishing. It’s a right many outdoorsmen take for granted. 

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