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      Is the hunting industry bulletproof?

      It takes good aim and a great shot to be a successful hunter.

      But is the hunting industry as a whole dodging bullets from the recession?

      The title of a recent USAToday article reads "Even during recession, hunting remains bulletproof."

      According to that article, companies that made, distributed or sold firearm, ammo or other hunting supplies in 2009 generated more economic activity than in 2008.

      KHQA's Jarod Wells went to GameMasters in Quincy to see if this article was on target or if it could be 'shot' down.

      "Is the hunting industry really recession proof?"

      Manager of Quincy GameMasters Gun Department Russ Merkel said, "I think it is."

      Russ Merkel says 2009 could have been the strongest year for firearms dealers across the country.

      Merkel said, "Well everything started escalating right after the election in November of 08. We saw sales starting to increase in both guns and ammunition."

      Merkel says after that election, many hunters and gun owners began to worry about new legislation and more restrictions and taxes and guns and ammo.

      Merkel said, "That's what initiated people to go out and purchase more than what they usually would. So naturally here we are in year 2010, they're not needing the quantities of ammo they did in 09."

      There has been a drop in sales of ammunition. Merkel says it's because people still have ammo left from everything they bought in 2009. But everything else, like guns, licenses and permits, have been steady.

      Merkel said, "No matter what sport you enjoy, what you do, I don't think people really are willing to give up what they enjoy doing and that same is true with the hunting sport."

      We also spoke with the Coordinator of Access Illinois Outdoors Brenda Middendorf.

      That program matches hunters with private landowners to expand access to hunting.

      "The Access Illinois Outdoors program has seen a decline in our numbers, largely because our hunters are middle class working people and they have been strongly impacted by the economy. That coupled with the permit fees involved with coming to Illinois to hunt has contributed to a small decline," said Middendorf.