It appears a radical animal rights Oregon ballot initiative to make hunting, fishing, trapping and farming a crime will fail to make the 2024 ballot. However, its sponsors recently filed to place the measure on the 2026 ballot. For that to happen, they need to submit 1,000 sponsorship signatures, receive the state’s approval and then gather more than 112,000 verified signatures.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which strongly opposes the measure (currently referred to as Initiative Petition 3), raised a voice of warning in August 2023.
If passed, the initiative would severely hamstring the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in carrying out its mission to protect and enhance the state’s fish and wildlife and their habitats. Approximately 40 percent of ODFW’s budget is generated from hunting and fishing licenses and fees which are used to manage all wildlife species, not just those that are hunted. Fish populations would also be drastically impacted since the $203 million ODFW spends on fisheries and fish hatcheries would be cut off.
Proponents also ignore the importance of conservation funding generated by hunters. Federal excise taxes on guns, ammunition, archery equipment via the Pittman-Robertson Act generated more than $16 billion since its inception in 1937. A 2023 report also shines a spotlight on crucial conservation and economic funding generated by the firearm and ammunition industry. Combined with Dingell-Johnson Act excise taxes on fishing gear, that funding is returned to states, including Oregon, for various conservation, recreation and public access projects.
Additionally, banning hunting and fishing would severely limit or stop those traditions from being passed on to the next generation, thus removing vital revenue that would be generated by future generations of hunters and anglers.
Proponents also failed to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the 2022 ballot.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)