Hunting Works For Illinois launched to promote economy, hunting
SPRINGFIELD, Ill: Does blaze orange equal lots of green for the economy? Sportsmen, retailers and business leaders throughout Illinois say yes and getting that message out far and wide is the goal of a new organization called Hunting Works For Illinois."When looking at the economy of Illinois, it's hard to ignore the size, scope and impact of hunters, hunting and the shooting sports," said Mark Denzler, COO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Illinois. "Quite frankly, hunters spend millions of dollars each year in Illinois, and much of that money goes to local business owners and entrepreneurs. It's true that hunters shop at Cabela's and Bass Pro, but hunters frequently support locally-owned sporting goods stores, hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and cafes all across Illinois."
Bill Fleishli, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, shared vital statistics on the economic impact: "With 512,000 hunters spending an average of $2,400 a year in Illinois, Hunting Works For Illinois highlights the impact these hunters have on the state economy. In fact, Illinois hunters spend over $273 million on hunting trips and over $235 million on equipment. All told, hunters spend $1.3 billion annually in the state of Illinois."
While the economic contributions of hunters are considerable, hunter spending also largely contributes to state conservation efforts. In 1937 the Pittman-Robertson Act was signed by President Roosevelt. This Act made it so hunters pay an 11 percent excise tax on equipment sales that is used to conserve and restore habitat.
"Hunting is extremely important to the overall health of Illinois's wildlife populations and their habitats," said Brittany Henry, Executive Director of the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau and one of the co-chairs of Hunting Works For Illinois. "Hunters not only support jobs and the economy, but the money hunters spend on their licenses and stamps, as well as the taxes they pay on equipment is all earmarked for conservation. That conservation translates into the beautiful wild places we have for people to not just hunt, but to hike, camp or go birdwatching."
The newly formed Hunting Works For Illinois partnership has over 50 partner organizations and will be adding dozens more in the weeks and months to come. The effort is supported by sporting organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Hunting Works For Illinois and its partners will be active in the state, attending events and educating the public and elected officials on why hunting and the shooting sports are so important to Illinois' economy.
"We all benefit from a robust hunting heritage in Illinois," said Peter Skosey from BNSF Railway and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Illinois. "I am very excited by what this group of unusual partners can get done on behalf of the hunting and shooting sports."