Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Ambushing a wily ringneck

November 20, 2008 at 12:44 PM

I was starting to feel bad for my buddy The Farmer.

Since he is in fact a farmer and since this year’s harvest has been late, he’s missed some wonderful hunts. Anyway, last night he called to celebrate while combining the last 36 rows of corn that he and another guy farm. As we talked, he chased out a few deer. Then saw a raccoon run into the corn. I congratulated him and we hung up. But with six rows left to go, the phone rang again. “I just flushed three old rooster pheasants. They walked right into the ditch here,” he said.

“What time are we hunting them?” I asked.

So we did. Someone suggested that it was a little like cheating, what with the combine running so late that the birds barely had time to find a place to roost. Obviously that person is not an Illinois pheasant hunter. When you find wild roosters in Illinois, you hunt them. I wish I had somebody in an airplane who would count pheasants and tell me where they are clustered. Then again, I’d never get any work done. But it would sure help in terms of confidence.

Because the ditch where these pheasants ran is nothing special. Not much grass. Some water. Just a basic ditch. But this morning we flushed three roosters, one hen and a covey of quail out of that unremarkable Stark County ditch. The last two birds were at the bottom of the ditch, nearly in the water. We would never have seen them without the dogs—or a sudden appearance by Aquaman.

The Farmer shot the pheasant (which made me feel a lot less worried about his lot in life), I shot a quail and the dogs performed well. All that in an hour of enjoyable hunting. Now if we could only get those aerial pheasant surveys started ...

Illinois hunting and fishing

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