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Glenda Zanders, of Zanders Sporting Goods in Sparta, will be inducted into the Illinois Conservation Foundation Hall of Fame at the end of September.

Glenda Zanders never considered herself of a Hall of Famer.

Zanders grew up in Evansville, hunting, fishing and trapping with her family. Later in life, her family started Zanders Sporting Goods in Sparta. The business is a wholesale outlet for hunting equipment.

Zanders individually, and through the business, has been a lifelong supporter of hunting, fishing and all outdoors sports. She has a particular interest in conservation programs promoting youth involvement in outdoor activities.

“Glenda Zanders is a longtime advocate for getting youth involved in the outdoors, understanding the importance of helping the next generation of conservationists enjoy the outdoor recreation activities we all cherish,” said Wayne Rosenthal, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Earlier this summer Zanders was notified that she had been selected for the Illinois Conservation Foundation Hall of Fame. Zanders will be honored along with C.E. (Bob) Becker, of Brighton, David F. Nelson of Barrington and Michael “Mick” Wanless of Springfield at the ICF’s Shoot for the Stars Gala Sept. 28.

“I never even thought about it,” Zanders said of her selection. “I didn’t expect it. I’m just honored to receive the award. I didn’t even think about it. I got the surprise attack.

“I guess I thought about all the things I’ve been involved in. “I’ve had some great times and good memories with people in conservation. I think I’ve been lucky to participate in a lot of activities. The business has given me that opportunity.”

Her love affair with outdoor sports began at an early age.

As a youngster, Zanders helped her father in commercial fishing the Kaskaskia River. She was also active in his trapping and fur-buying exploits.

“My dad was a fur buyer,” Zanders aid. “I commercial fished with him when I was a kid. I loved it. Those were the good old days as far as I was concerned. I didn’t have any pressure back then.”

The sporting goods business grew from that connection to fishing and fur buying. And, with the growth of the business came Zanders' association with Ducks Unlimited, Whitetails Unlimited, the National Turkey Federation, Boy Scouts of America and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

She has also been a staunch supporter of the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the Amateur Trapshooting Association’s AIM program.

“I’m a life member of most of those organizations,” Zanders aid. “I just feel it’s my obligation to do that. With the business, all the organizations help support the business, the industry. The turkey federation people … 20 years ago you’d never see a turkey, and look at what we have now.”

And, although her love of hunting has taken her all over the world, Zanders said her favorite activity remains dove hunting.

“I’m getting ready for it right now,” she said. “That’s at the top of my list. I like to fish too. I’ve really gotten into fishing lately.”

The only thing she likes better than hunting or fishing is passing along the love of the sports.

“So that they can experience some of the great memories that I have had,” Zanders said. “What I’m a firm believer in is not hunting by yourself, but with a friend, a spouse or a kid, sharing those memories.”


On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​


Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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