On April 13, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted the annual regional event in Springfield, Illinois. The event provided an opportunity for state lawmakers and members of the sportsmen’s community to discuss sportsmen’s policy priorities in the Midwest.
More than 200 members from across the sportsmen’s community were in attendance; including leaders from an array of sportsmen’s organizations, members of the Illinois General Assembly, and Governor Sportsmen’s Caucus member Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
CSF President Jeff Crane welcomed guests and delivered opening remarks. “CSF has been working closely with the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus for more than a decade to protect and advance the state’s hunting and angling heritage,” said Crane. “The growth and engagement of this Caucus speaks to the members’ commitment to advancing the interests of hunters and anglers in the Midwest.”
Vice President of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council and Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Brandon Phelps spoke on the importance of protecting the state’s sportsmen’s heritage in the halls of government. “I’m proud to work with such a dedicated Caucus under NASC in order to ensure access to popular hunting and fishing across the country, and for the 1.3 million sportsmen and women in Illinois.”
“We’re all here because we share the American values of enjoying the outdoors,” said Gov. Rauner. “It’s one of the most important things that defines us as Americans.”
During the event, CSF, along with the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, presented the “Friends of Illinois Sportsmen” Award to Richard Mark (Ameren). The award is given out annually to individuals who support the Caucus and demonstrate a high level of dedication and commitment to protecting the Illinois’ outdoor sporting heritage.
Title Sponsors of the event included: Ameren, Illinois Pipe Trades Association, Foresight Energy and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Host Sponsors included: Cable Television & Communications Associations of Illinois, Commonwealth Edison Company, Dynagy Inc., Exelon Corporation, Peoples Gas/ Northshore Gas, International Union of Operating Engineers. Co-Host Sponsors included: American Water Works Company, Inc., AT&T, Bass Pro Shops, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Illinois Rifle Association, Laborers’ International Union of North America, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Plano Synergy, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shimano America Corporation, Vista Outdoors and Zander’s 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?