By Joel Hodgdon, Central Midwestern States Coordinator
On August 18, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Bruce Rauner signed two bills important to Illinois’ sportsmen and women into law.
Taking effect January 1, 2019, IL H 4231 amends the Wildlife Code to allow hunters to wear blaze pink as an alternative to blaze orange when afield. Illinois law requires hunters to wear blaze outerwear and hats during firearm deer and upland game bird seasons.
Effective immediately, IL H 5317 increases the fines for poaching various game and non-game species in Illinois, including eagles and other birds of prey, trumpeter swans, wild turkeys, fur bearing mammals and white-tailed deer. Whitetail deer fines increased from $250 to $1000 per animal, with additional fees levied per antler point in some cases. Fines will be paid to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Until the passage of this legislation, poaching fines for many of these animals had not increased since 1999.
Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council Member Representative Jerry Costello was the primary sponsor of the poaching bill and helped co-sponsor the blaze pink legislation.
“The violators of our state’s game laws and the abusers of our natural resources should be punished with more than a slap on the wrist,” said Rep. Costello. “As a hunter, I was proud to champion both of these bills, and I want to thank my colleagues in the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus for their hard work helping passing both pieces of legislation.”
During Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair, Gov. Rauner signs the two bills into law alongside Illinois DNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. Photo Credit: Capitol Outdoors
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?