BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) – Archery bow season has begun in Illinois, as hunters spread out across the state in the hopes of bringing home a turkey or deer.
For some local businesses, the new season means big money.
Tim Rau is the owner of Sure-Shot Archery, 5725 Lawrenceville Rd, in Belvidere. He said that business has been booming over the last several weeks, with people across the stateline getting prepped for bow hunting season.
“We probably do half of our business through August, September and October,” Rau said. “With all compounds, you get fitted, go through a fitting, get all dialed in, and we actually teach them how to shoot it and get all set up. A lot of the guys that come in, they use the range and different things just to practice for hunting and keep their skills honed. It is mainly a hunting industry that we are in.”
Bow and firearm season benefits more than just local hunting shops, it also means big money for the state. In total, $1.3 billion is spent by hunters every year in Illinois.
Rau believes that archery’s popularity is only growing in the area.
“Quite a bit with compound, and now you have your crossbows and different things too, so that made it a lot easier, and opened it up to people that were just gun hunters before,” Rau said. “Now, they can have a longer season.”
Rau said that for some, bow hunting is a way to help feed their families. He said that, while there is a stigma that archers dislike animals, they actually play an important role in wildlife conservation.
“It is really something that is needed to protect the animals, and keep the population in check,” Rau said. “So, it sort of gets a bad rap there, but it is an enjoyable sport, so I think more people should try.”
A state archery permit is required before going on any hunting trip. They can be purchased at many local sporting good and outdoor activity stores.