Election Day was a victory for the Republican Party, but it also produced mostly positive results for hunters. Two states strengthened the rights of hunters and one rejected new hunting restrictions.
In Mississippi, voters amended their state constitution to codify the right to hunt and fish, joining 17 other states who already have done the same.
Under the new amendment, state game wardens will work with Mississippi lawmakers to regulate seasons and other license requirements. Mississippi hunters said they were responding to animal rights activists who seek to curb hunting in favor of contraception and other means of controlling wildlife population. The National Rifle Association strongly backed the amendment.
Alabama voters approved language to strengthen the state's constitutional right to hunt. Both the Alabama and Mississippi amendments passed with more than 80 percent of the vote.
In Maine, voters upheld the ability to use bait, dogs and traps to hunt bears, rejecting a ballot initiative that pitted hunting advocates against animal rights groups. State wildlife officials opposed the bear hunting ban because the state’s bear population is up 30 percent over the last decade.
In Michigan, however, voters approved a ballot initiative to ban wolf hunting — but the results may not actually hold. While animal-rights groups managed to get enough signatures to get it on the ballot, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who was re-elected Tuesday, signed a law earlier this year to allow wolf hunting.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Golder told the Detroit News that the state doesn’t allow people to hunt wolves for sport, but rather to control the population.
“The state's highly regarded Wolf Management Plan allowed that hunting could be used as one method of managing wolves,” he said. “As described above, the hunt that was held in Michigan in 2013 was designed with specific goals in mind — reducing wolf-human conflicts, while also protecting Michigan's wolf population as a whole.”