Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Shutdown Frustrates Local Outdoorsmen
FRANKLIN COUNTY -- In southern Illinois, closure of federal lands is causing frustration for outdoorsmen who use those sites. Many hunters and fishermen rely on the thousands of acres of public land here in the area, but now, some of those places are closed.
"When I first saw it, I didn't think it would affect me at all, but yeah, it has a huge trickle down effect," said Xtreme Crappie fishing guide Clint Taylor.
Some local fisherman and deer hunters are seeing first hand what shutting down the federal government leads to. For the second day in a row, signs around Rend Lake indicated that campgrounds run by the Army Corps of Engineers are closed and that's hurting Taylor.
"Yesterday I received a call from some of my clients that were supposed to come down this Thursday, that the campground will be closed, therefore, they needed to cancel their trip," explained Taylor.
While campgrounds at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park remain open, Taylor's client had already paid for his reservation on the federal site and is now waiting for a refund.
It's a similar story at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
"I spent probably a $100 in gas in the last three weeks scouting," said local deer hunter Mike Sord. "And it was useless."
Archery deer season opened Tuesday, October 1, in Illinois, and a lot of prime hunting spots are on public ground. Now, hunters like Sord are frustrated because they can't get to their favorite places.
"It makes me want to not pay nothing anymore," explained Sord. "It makes me want to not pay for my tag to park my car out there, it makes me want to not put my boat on there. There's other places that are considered public and I don't have to pay to go there. And they're still open. The places you have to pay to go to are closed? That makes no sense."
Until the shutdown ends, all boat launches and grounds at Crab Orchard Lake are closed, including the Blue Heron Boat Club in Carterville and Little Grassy Marina south of Carbondale. At Rend Lake, access to boat launches owned by the state and the Rend Lake Conservatory District remain open.
Wind: 16 MPH
Humidity: 78 %