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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


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Cougars on the minds of many

February 07, 2008 at 08:42 PM

And I thought this was just another normal Thursday. Turns out this is cougar Thursday. Big cats are in the news everywhere: Wisconsin, California and yes, even here in Illinois. On to the news.

First, just for future reference, here is what you are looking for folks. This is a paw print from a mountain lion found in Vista Park Hill in California.

Illinois Outdoors

Click here to read a story telling us that the big cat in southern Wisconsin was definitely a cougar based on DNA testing of blood left behind by the cat. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Department of Natural Resources confirmed Tuesday that DNA tests concluded that a large cat seen leaping from a hayloft on Jan. 18 in Rock County was a cougar.

If it is determined to be wild, it would be the first evidence that cougars had returned to Wisconsin since the early 1900s.

Here is a link to an interesting Web site called Illinois Cougar There are plenty of entries from around Illinois, nice pictures and an easy to navigate layout. There’s also one big problem: They are actually taking seriously the e-mailed pictured of the big cat on the deck that some liar said were taken in Findlay. In an entry about the bogus e-mail, the site concludes: “Based on the above details, this sighting is inconclusive.”

Uh, wrong. Even the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, whose press releases have been declared an endangered species, came out with a news release to debunk the big cat shots.

Oh yeah, that release included this, to me, comical quote from Sam Flood, acting DNR director: “It is absolutely not true that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is releasing cougars anywhere in the state for any reason.”

Of course they aren’t. For that matter, the Illinois DNR is not doing much of anything.


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