A central Illinois hunting-weapon manufacturer appears to be in a “High Noon”-style showdown with the state’s Department of Natural Resources over a hunting tool recognized by other states, but not by Illinois.
John “Chief AJ” Huffer employs approximately 50 workers at a facility in Tuscola that manufactures his modified slingshot, which he calls a slingbow. While Huffer sells the slingbow for hunting around the world and in more than two dozen U.S. states, it’s not legal to use for huntingdeer in Illinois.
Huffer said he is prepared to move his operations out of the state at the end of the month if his slingbow is not legalized.
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“We’ve come to a ‘High Noon’ showdown situation after five years of promising that ‘we might do this,’ or ‘we might approve it,’” Huffer said.
Huffer said he’s being courted by another state to relocate and expand.
“North Carolina approved the slingbow, then offered me three incentives to manufacture our archery equipment in the state of North Carolina.”
Huffer said he’s not asking for financial incentives from Illinois -- only legal recognition for the slingshot’s use in hunting deer.
“They talk on TV and the radio all the time about ‘we want jobs, we want small businesses.’ Well, here you got one who was born right here. Just let him run with it. Just approve his slingbow and you’ve got it.”
The Department of Natural Resources said any change in hunting-equipment legality in Illinois requires action from state lawmakers.