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Get more involved in Illinois Outdoor Recreation: Hunting // Fishing // Camping

As you know Capitol Outdoors focuses on Legislation, Conservation, and Education regarding the outdoors throughout the state of Illinois. In today’s world, the internet and social media outlets such as; Facebook and Twitter throw information at us at such a fast speed. We all read articles about new fishing and hunting techniques, or the latest product, but what about pending legislation or research on new topics. The U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife and Illinois Department of Natural Resources have studies and research papers that have recently been published. These contain vital information for all those who enjoy the outdoors.

The Illinois Department Natural Resources and The Illinois Natural History Survey last week published the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and the 2013 – 2014 Illinois Waterfowl Hunter Report: Harvest, Season Preferences, and Digest Use. Capitol Outdoors recommends that you read both of these reports. Both are a hefty read but are worth your time and contain educational information.

SCORP isn’t the most exciting read but it “is an examination of Illinois’ outdoor recreation resources and needs”. “The purpose of the plan is to evaluate the outdoor recreation needs of Illinois citizens and determine how best to meet those needs”. SCORP breaks down information into various chapters regarding the natural resources, demographics, outdoor recreation supply and demand, priorities for outdoor recreation, and plan implementation. Earlier this year Capitol Outdoors attended Conservation Congress, which “was a valuable source of input for the DNR”. SCORP used the input from those that attended Conservation Congress for research purposes. It is important that outdoorsmen and women begin attending events and seminars like this to not only become more engaged, but to voice your opinions.
Now, as far as the 2013 – 2014 Illinois Waterfowl Hunter Report: Harvest, Season Preferences, and Digest Use goes; it seems like it is more geared toward waterfowl hunting and research obtained for that purpose. If you hunt waterfowl in Illinois we highly recommend reading this study. The objective was to “survey waterfowl hunters annually to determine their activities, harvest, characteristics, attitudes, and opinion”. This study is jammed packed full of information that will make you a more productive waterfowl hunter.

These are just two examples in the past week that a lot of outdoorsmen and women overlook. Part of being an outdoorsman/woman is to be involved. You hear it all the time, its not about how many geese you get or how big that buck was, but it’s about sitting in your boat enjoying the great outdoors. The most troubling part in both of these reads is the lack of involvement by the outdoor community.
A 46% response rate from waterfowlers in the annual survey is just unacceptable. We can and we must do better! Remember, there are organizations out there that want our way of life to cease to exist. If we can’t get half of our people to send in a survey that was mailed to their homes; how do we ever expect to be strong enough to stand and fight for our right to hunt and fish?