Hunters have an overall impact of $2.2 billion on Illinois’ economy every year, according to the newly formed Hunting Works For Illinois organization, which is trying to boost awareness of hunting's benefits to the state.
The group consists of 50 partner retailers, manufacturers, tourism bureaus and other industries that benefit from hunting.
“We want to spread a message of the economic impact on our state and local economies,” Mark Denzler, chief operating officer for Illinois Manufacturers Association and co-chair of the group, said in a press conference recently.
Denzler contends that not enough attention has been given over the years to the contributions that hunting and hunters have on the state’s economy.
“When looking at the economy of Illinois, it’s hard to ignore the size, scope and impact of hunters, hunting and the shooting sports,” Denzler said.
According to Hunting Works For Illinois, 512,000 people hunt in Illinois every year, 51,000 of whom come from out of state.
“Those half a million people spend money on equipment, lodging, dining (and) transportation,” Peter Skosey, executive director of state government affairs for BNSF Railway and another co-chair, said. “That money flows through the entire Illinois economy, supporting jobs and economic prosperity along the way.”
Every year, hunters spend more than $273 million on hunting trips and $235 million on related equipment, including firearms, ammunition, fishing poles and hunting bows.
“With 512,000 hunters spending an average of $2,400 a year in Illinois, Hunting Works For Illinois highlights the impact these hunters have on the state economy,” Bill Fleishli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, said.
Illinois is the 16th state to implement a Hunting Works organization. The Illinois group emphasized it does not have a policy agenda, but rather is solely designed to educate the public as well as legislature about the economic impact of hunting.