The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, is proud to announce that, yet again, the Hunting Works For America footprint has grown and now includes a state chapter in Illinois. Hunting Works For Illinois joins other Midwestern states in the program, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa. All told the Hunting Works For America program now includes 16 states in every region of the continental United States.
Hunting Works For Illinois is the second Hunting Works For America chapter to launch in 2017. Hunting Works For New York launched two weeks ago. The Illinois chapter already has more than 50 partner organizations and will be recruiting many more in the weeks and months to come.
Hunting Works For America brings a broad range of stakeholders together to educate the public, elected officials and the media about the importance of hunting. Shooting sports organizations, conservation groups, businesses and other non-traditional hunting entities such as chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and other trade associations, form the various state chapters. The varied partner groups all share an interest in the economic impact of hunting, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance.
“The strength of these state partnerships is undoubtedly the diversity of them, and that really speaks to the point we want to make, mainly that hunting is important to our state economies,” said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for NSSF. “Among the ranks of our 2,600 partners, you’ll find dozens of chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, sporting goods stores of all sizes, conservation organizations, hotels, restaurants, mom and pop shops, guides and the list goes on and on. Illinois expands this diversity by including our first ever railroad to our membership. As one of the largest carriers of goods in the country, we’re proud and excited to have BNSF join Hunting Works For Illinois. While there are very few places better for the sport, especially when it comes to big whitetails, hunting isn’t always the first thing people think of when they think of Illinois, but with this new chapter, we will be working to change that perception. Hunters spend $1.3 billion a year in Illinois and contribute $158 million in state and local taxes. This spending translates into an economic ripple effect of $2.2 billion.”
Taxes, fees and surcharges that hunters pay when they purchase licenses, tags and equipment fund Illinois’ conservation efforts which benefit game and non-game species as well as anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
Hunting Works For Illinois launched today with a press conference at the State Capitol in Springfield and is co-chaired by Mark Denzler, COO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association; Peter Skosey, director of state government affairs with BNSF Railway; Bill Fleishli, senior executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association; Brittany Henry, executive director of the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
Initially, Hunting Works For America launched in 2010 with just three states, Hunting Works For Arizona, Hunting Works For Minnesota and Hunting Works For North Dakota. Since then the program has grown, adding chapters in Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama, New York and, as of today, Illinois. All totaled, the Hunting Works For America program now represents more than 2,600 businesses, organizations and associations representing tens of thousands of stakeholders.
Becoming a member of Hunting Works For Illinois is absolutely free of charge. Interested organizations should visit www.huningHuntingWorksForIL.com to learn more about how to become a partner and the program including leadership, members, social media opportunities and local hunting seasons.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.