A Sportsman’s Perspective on Constitution Day

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Few people recognize Constitution Day. That’s not surprising when one considers the scarcity of those who understand or revere our Constitution in today’s society. I can almost guarantee that sportsmen, as a whole, have no clue how violations of our Constitution impact them directly, even when it comes to hunting and fishing.

Sunday, September 17th, is Constitution Day. That fact has not been publicized because it is one of those federal holidays that is not observed by taking the day off from work. Federal buildings will not be closed. We don’t have parades or fireworks or grand speeches. There will not be any picnics to honor this day.

Officially, it will be observed on Monday, September 18th, because the law requires that schools which receive federal funding use that day for teaching. You see, the day is now more commonly recognized as Citizenship Day. Thus, the lessons taught our children will generally be about citizenship ceremonies rather than about that fateful day in 1787 when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign that historic document they had created.

The vast majority of our citizens will see this day pass without so much as a nod of recognition, appreciation, or comprehension of what it represents.

This situation truly saddens this ol’ mountain man…

I found two articles that speak to a little bit of what I see in the people around me.

The first is entitled, The Mythical Constitution, and here is an excerpt:

The nation marks the 230th birthday of our Constitution this weekend. On Sunday, many Americans of all political persuasions who are aware of Constitution Day will praise the Framers of that document and express gratitude that they live under its protections.

They will celebrate the fact that we have a representative democracy, where the laws are written by people who must stand for re-election at regular intervals.

They will praise our system of separated powers, where no person has the power to be lawmaker, investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. And they will cheer for the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedoms from searches without probable cause and from self-incrimination, and secures our rights to due process.

One problem, though.

That Constitution—the one taught to students in high school civics classes—doesn’t really exist anymore. Nowadays, American government follows a process that barely resembles the basic principles established in our fundamental law.

The second article is entitled, Deputy Attorney General Says Rule of Law Is About ‘Character of the People’ Enforcing the Law, and here is an excerpt:

“Unfortunately, too few American citizens know the details of our Constitution,” Rosenstein said. “And some discount the rule of law. If you ask whether a particular legal decision is right, most of the citizens focus on whether they favor the policy outcome.”

I highly recommend that you read both articles. They add dimension to this important discussion; the subject of which too few understand – or even care about.

I mentioned in the opening paragraph that sportsmen are impacted directly by violations of the Constitution. Let me expound upon that for just a few moments. Maybe, just maybe, this will be enough to at least motivate you to look a little deeper or care a little more.

Nearly every sportsman recognizes that the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution is violated regularly. Few comprehend the depth of those violations.

There are very few sportsmen with whom I talk who know that nearly 30% of the entire land mass of the United States is held up as “public lands” under control of the federal government. Because of overreach by federal regulatory agencies, vast portions of this land is inaccessible to sportsmen.

Fewer yet comprehend the number of federal agencies that, acting in violation of the restrictions put in place by the Constitution, restrict the kind of wildlife we can hunt, the numbers of those wildlife that we can take, the places where we can hunt, the seasons in which we can hunt, or the areas and species and numbers of fish that we can take.

Few comprehend the nearly invisible impacts that are felt by sportsmen due to the impacts upon private landholders.

I can’t remember the last time I talked with a sportsman who understood the number of game and trophy animals that were taken by federal agents because sportsmen are not allowed to take these animals. In example, in 2016 alone, federal agencies or agents acting in their behalf took over 76,000 coyotes, nearly 1,000 bobcats, over 400 bears, over 400 wolves and more than 300 mountain lions.

Additionally, bison, elk, deer, and other game animals are regularly “removed” from national parks and other holdings in order to “manage” these populations because federal agencies prohibit sportsmen from doing so.

I could go on…

So many of the problems we face in contemporary society are directly attributable to the fact that we have a federal government that over steps its boundaries.

I’ve had so many people ask me, “who gave them the authority?”

Alas, the real problem is that they don’t have the authority but the honest question that must be asked is, “who will stop them?”

That is what our Constitution was designed and intended to do.

The Constitution of the United States of America is not a “living document” and it is not “out of date.” It is the framework under which our country was established, and under which it flourished. It is the only framework under which our country will be preserved.

Sunday is Constitution Day.

That’s the view from here.

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.

One Comment

  1. Dan’l,

    Very good and timely article. As an avid constitutional originalist, some would say zealot, I have had this debate with too many sportsman in my 60+ years. The two most common arguments I get are, “That’s how you see it. Others see it differently.” and “It belongs to the public that’s the ‘people’ in the constitution.” To the first I usually say, “It’s not about how anyone ‘sees’ it. It’s about the law as written in the Supreme Law of the Land.”

    The latter argument makes me want to throw up my hands and walk away. If those people think the land still belongs to “we the people” I invite them to go homestead or even hunt, fish or forage on any of that land marked off limits. When they are accosted by USF&W Game Wardens or Fed park rangers they can simply tell them, “It’s ok guys, I own this land.”

    See how far that ownership claim gets them.

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