Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources marks 32th year

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IFOR, the Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources, is 32 years old this year. Established as a not-for-profit, IFOR is a unique coalition of individuals and organizations.  IFOR represents all outdoorsmen, all sportsmen, and all recreational users.  They have believed fervently since their inception it is critical that all organizations with an interest in the outdoors band together under one large umbrella to form a united front against those who would remove or limit the use of outdoor recreational pursuits and resources.

Never heard of them? You are not alone. In spite of all that IFOR does, they keep a pretty low profile and are a somewhat unusual sportsmen’s group in that they don’t promote the cause of any single special interest group.  The DNR and the state legislature definitely know who IFOR is and what they can do. Here is IFOR’s mission statement:

“To unite all outdoor resource user groups and conservationists ( hunters, fishermen, trappers, trail riders, etc.), dedicated to preserving, restoring and developing the State’s natural resources, and to provide a professional liaison to the Illinois Legislature and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), to protect sportsmen’s rights and recreational opportunities; and to work together to ensure long-term, adequate dedicated funding for, and professional management of the IDNR.”

IFOR’s charter is that of a conservation organization whose main purpose is to unite Illinois Outdoorsmen under one statewide umbrella and protect and defend the recreational rights of natural resource users in the state of Illinois.  Currently composed of over 50 outdoor recreational groups, collectively IFOR represents well in excess of 125,000 outdoorsmen in this state.

Of course, as a trapper, I am particularly interested in what IFOR has done to help trappers in the state. Certainly they had a part in setting a modern otter trapping season in 2012, but they truly shined in both 2015 and 2016 when sportsmen pushed through a bobcat season in the state. The first year, 2015, outgoing governor Pat Quinn vetoed the legislation. Passed again in 2016, under intense opposition from the US Humane Society, the legislation was codified and Illinois had her first bobcat season since 1974, benefiting both hunters and trappers across the state.

Not happy with the current restrictions of the Illinois bobcat season? Neither am I. However, I do see that we have to have some perspective. At least we HAVE a season. Several Midwestern states such as Ohio and Indiana are still struggling to get a season in spite of pretty overwhelming evidence that their state’s bobcat population would warrant management. Thank IFOR (as well as the efforts by the Illinois Trappers Association!) for the opportunity we have in our state.

Interested in joining? Individual memberships are $20 a year. Should your organization wish to become an affiliate, dues are $1.50 per member per year with a maximum cost of $750. The minimum is $25 (up to 15 members). IFOR may be contacted through their website or their Facebook page.

Categories: — — Illinois – Kent Weil

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