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Pike County business owners say hunting season spikes tourism

PIKE COUNTY, Il. – Local business owners said thanks to tourism, business is booming.

A report from the US Travel Association ranks Pike County as the third most popular tourism spot in Illinois.

Bainbridge Street Cafe owner Pamela Utterback said she’s gearing up for a busy few months.

“Once October gets here, all the hunters start showing up,” Utterback said. “We get a pretty good crowd of them in here every year.”

She said tourism drives business — everything from buses that bring visitors, to hunters that come from all over the world.

“It boosts business for everybody,” Utterback said.

According to the US Travel Association, tourism in Pike County brought in $28 million in revenue last year– something Utterback said she counts on every year.

“I would say an estimate of probably 40 to 50 person difference in foot traffic,” Utterback said.

Hunter Darin Carlen said he notices  it throughout the entire community.

“It gets crazy around here,” Carlen said. “The population about doubles for three months around the year around here.”

Utterback said she’s making an effort to keep this tourism spike in Pike County.

“We may have some hunters come in and they’ll say hey, can you charge our food to the end of the week? Stuff like that,” Utterback said. “We do special things like that for them, or if they need food delivered to them.”

Carlen said he appreciates businesses in the community opening their doors, to keep people coming back.

“Everybody gets to know everybody around here,” Carlen said. “Just enjoy meeting new people and more revenue for the county and the businesses.”

Utterback said they sometimes extend their hours when the hunters are in town.

She said they plan to continue to accommodate hunters from October to January.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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