On March 15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in hosting the annual Illinois Wild Game Dinner in Springfield. This event gathered several state legislators as well as members of the sportsmen’s community to discuss sportsmen’s policy priorities within the state and across the Midwestern region.
Representative Brandon Phelps, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council President and Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, was instrumental in organizing this event. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead 48 state sportsmen’s caucuses under the NASC umbrella, comprised of 2,000 legislators across the country” said Rep. Phelps. “Here in Illinois, we understand the importance of sportsmen and women as economic drivers in the state, and will continue working to advance policies for our outdoor heritage and professional fish and wildlife conservation.”
CSF Senior Director of Midwestern States Chris Horton addressed the audience. “Illinois’ hunters and anglers are well-represented thanks to the dedication and involvement of the Illinois Caucus,” said Horton. “CSF looks forward to supporting the state’s legislature in passing policies that will advance the state’s sportsmen’s heritage alongside the Caucus.”
Members of the Illinois Sportsmen’s Caucus represent 1.31 million hunters and anglers across the state who spend over $2.3 billion annually on their outdoor pursuits. In addition, Illinois sportsmen and women contributed $67.3 million towards fish and wildlife conservation in 2015.
Title Sponsors included Ameren and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. Host Sponsors included: AT&T, Bass Pro Shops, Cable Television and Communications Association of Illinois, Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC, Comcast Corporation, ComEd, Dynergy, Exelon, Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association, Illinois Pipe Trades Association, Illinois Railroad Association (BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific), International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, National Shooting Sports Foundation, North Shore Gas, Outdoor Sportsman Group, Plano Synergy Holdings, Peoples Gas & North Shore Gas, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shimano American Corporation, Vista Outdoor, Winchester Ammunition, and Zanders Sporting Goods.
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?