ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A new hunting organization is helping get the word out about the massive economic impact the industry has on the state.
Each year, more than $2 billion is generated from things like employment, the price of gear and millions in taxes.
The group’s goal is to educate and encourage more youth to get involved in the hunting industry. Many who are involved say hunters and the industry don’t get enough credit for how much money generated and put back into communities.
Peter Skosey, of BNSF Railway says, “One of the things I didn’t know, having been a hunter for 12-years is, the impact that hunting has on the state. So me personally, learning this message was exciting and new.”
Hunting Works for Illinois is trying to do just that. With more than 500,000 people in the state hunting annually, the organization wants to continue helping small, rural communities thrive.
Bill Fleischli, of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association says, “Everything they do involves cash money and there’s always, not always regular taxes on their state and federal taxes and there’s an outdoor tax.”
Hunters spend, on average, $1.3 billion a year, including millions on things like lodging, travel expenses and equipment. For the hotel and tourism industry, they’re encouraging more companies to provide incentives to bring more people from out-of-state.
Brittany Henry, with the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau says, “When they come in, whether it’s their recommendations of the swag items, sometimes it might even be a new hat than the one we had last year, most definitely, we’re always working to build those packages to make him better and years before.”
The organization will also weigh in on legislation to grow jobs in the hunting industry and help the economy.
“Taxes that hunters pay on equipment and licenses and fees and large percentage of those go back into the environment and conservation efforts.”
The organization was also created to stand up to anti-hunting groups. Some are trying to limit the sport as well as make it more expensive.
In the past, legislation was created to try to deter hunting. However, it’s never gotten enough support to pass.
New hunting laws, which went into effect this year, are aimed at bringing more people out during hunting season. One allows the use of crossbows for the entire deer and turkey season which begins next month and, any age can participate as long as the hunter has an archery permit.