June 10, 2024

Bill to Ban Hunting Contests Fails to Pass as Illinois Legislature Adjourns

Article Contact: Bob Matthews,

Why It Matters: Each year, state legislatures around the country introduce and consider bills that would hinder sportsmen and women from partaking in our time-honored outdoor traditions. Oftentimes, those bills would also interfere with state fish and wildlife agencies’ authority to follow science-based management principles. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) works to thwart the passage of such legislation and ensure that language infringing on sporting traditions is not signed into law, despite any momentum that it may have.


  • IL HB 2900 would have prohibited hunters from organizing hunting contests for furbearing species, which are a legitimate tool for managing localized populations.
  • The bill initially missed a deadline to pass from the House, but received a special vote to revive it, where it subsequently passed out of the House by a margin of 68-45.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation advocated against its passage at each phase of bill’s progression. HB 2900 was not considered on the floor by the Senate before the legislature adjourned, killing the bill.

In Illinois, CSF worked throughout the 2024 legislative session to help defeat HB 2900, a bill that would have prohibited hunters in the Prairie State from organizing contests to legally harvest furbearers. Although the language had been introduced in previous years, HB 2900 gained traction this session, and even received a special vote in the Rules Committee to revive the bill after it had missed a deadline. Following that revival, the bill passed through the Illinois House of Representatives, despite opposition from both sides of the aisle, and was sent to the Senate.

Such contests are often mischaracterized by anti-hunting organizations, which ignore the numerous benefits that organized hunting provides to hunters, local sporting stores, farmers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and wildlife populations themselves. Coyotes, the species that these contests most commonly seek to manage, have infiltrated nearly every corner of the country with a booming population, depredating livestock and causing human-wildlife conflicts. Hunting contests create opportunities for hunters to manage localized populations, while requiring participants to abide by the same laws that would apply otherwise. Equipment sales in preparation for hunting contests benefit local sporting stores, while license sales benefit the Illinois DNR through the American System of Conservation Funding.

Informing non-sporting legislators of the above considerations, CSF and members of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus advocated against the bill’s passage in the Senate, where it ultimately died. Throughout the country, CSF will continue to protect the interests of sportsmen and women, as well as the wildlife that they pursue – including future attempts in Illinois to prohibit hunting contests.

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