To the Editor:
As chair of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, I am proud to join like-minded sportsmen-legislators from across the nation in celebrating the 45th National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, Sept. 23.
On this day, it is important to recognize the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling, as well as the historical and current contributions of the original conservationists – hunters and anglers – in supporting sound, science-based fish and wildlife conservation.
Through buying licenses, tags and waterfowl stamps, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the U.S. Collectively, the nation’s unique “user pays-public benefits” system brought in $64 million to fund conservation efforts in the state.
All Illinoisans benefit from these funds through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration, fish and wildlife research (game and nongame), private and public habitat management, hunter education, angler access area construction, and numerous other DNR projects funded through this system.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is a great time to recognize the contributions of sportsmen and women to conservation; without them, Illinois’s fish and wildlife would not be nearly as abundant, nor would our economy be as vibrant.
Through these contributions, our state opened 470,000 public acres to hunting, built 125 public boat launches, and conserved an additional 90,000 acres of habit important for all wildlife, game and nongame alike.
On Sept. 23, join me in celebrating the many and varied benefits that hunting and angling provide for The Prairie State.
Enjoy this special occasion and the vast opportunities to hunt and fish in Illinois.
The outdoor traditions of hunting and angling should not be taken for granted and opportunities to hunt and fish should continue to be abundantly available for future generations.
Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry)