April 29, 2024

Fur the Win: Illinois Hunting Tournament Ban Misses Deadline

Article Contact: Bob Matthews,

Why It Matters: Bills that seek to prohibit hunters from participating in contests or tournaments threaten traditions that sportsmen and women have long enjoyed, as well as legitimate conservation methods of controlling predator and invasive species – namely coyotes. Most importantly, these bills attempt to legislatively manage wildlife issues rather than vesting the appropriate decision-making powers with the recognized experts at the state fish and wildlife agencies to make informed, science-based management decisions.


  • IL HB 2900 would have prohibited hunters in the Prairie State from organizing and participating in furbearer hunting tournaments.
  • The bill successfully made it out of the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and was awaiting further action in the House of Representatives.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) encouraged members of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and party leaders to oppose the bill.
  • Ultimately, Leadership elected to keep the bill off the floor and re-refer it back to Committee, missing its required House passage deadline.

Illinois House Bill 2900, which would have prohibited hunters in the State from participating in furbearer-harvesting tournaments, passed through the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and was awaiting a floor vote. CSF issued a letter of opposition to all members of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, as well as party leaders, explaining that hunting contests have legitimate benefits both culturally and as an effective tool for managing localized populations, particularly for coyotes.

Hunters participating in such tournaments are required to abide by the same state regulations, including those related to wanton waste, as every other Illinois sportsman and woman. They must purchase the necessary licenses and often support local economies by purchasing hunting-related equipment. Through the unique “user pays – public benefits” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding, these license purchases provide funding to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR). On top of partially funding the DNR’s efforts to achieve its mission, tournament hunters then help in carrying it out, by serving as a potential tool to address localized issues of overabundance of predator or invasive species. This helps to mitigate a variety of human-wildlife conflicts, including providing immediate relief to farmers and ranchers that experience livestock losses due to depredation.

Following CSF’s opposition, the bill did not receive a vote in the House before its required deadline of April 19th and was therefore re-referred to the Rules Committee in accordance with Illinois’ legislative procedures. At this stage, it is very unlikely that the bill will be revived; however, CSF will continue to track the issue and, if necessary, advocate against its passage.

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