By Joel Hodgdon, Central Midwestern States Coordinator
On April 17, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to host the annual Illinois Caucus Dinner. This event brought together state legislators and members of Illinois’s hunting and angling community to discuss policy priorities in the state and across the Midwestern region.
Caucus Chairman and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council Alternate Member Representative Jerry Costello assisted with organizing this event.
“In Illinois, we understand the important role that sportsmen and women play in helping drive both our economy and conservation funding,” said Rep. Costello. “The Caucus is honored to represent our hunter and angler constituents in Springfield.”
“Over the years, I’ve been privileged to work alongside the Illinois caucus as they have time and again advanced the cause of sportsmen and women in this state,” said former Caucus Chairman and NASC Executive Council Member Dan Reitz. “We look forward to helping the caucus continue to move Illinois’ sporting heritage forward.”
The 1.31 million hunters and anglers in Illinois spend more than $6.4 million per day on their outdoor pursuits. This produces a financial ripple effect worth approximately $4 billion in the state. Through the American System of Conservation Funding, Illinois sportsmen and women provided over $64 million for conserving Illinois’s abundant natural resources in 2017.
Several CSF staff were in attendance, including Senior Director of Midwestern States/Fisheries Program Chris Horton, Central Midwestern States Coordinator Joel Hodgdon, and Upper Midwestern States Coordinator Zachary Sheldon, among others.
Title Sponsors included Ameren; Bass Pro Shops; and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. Host Sponsors included: Hornady Manufacturing, Inc.; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Plano Synergy Holdings; Richard Childress Racing; Safari Club International; Shimano American Corporation; and Vista Outdoor Inc.
Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders thank former National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses President Brandon Phelps for his dedication to sportsmen and women.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?