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

Duck opener good for some

October 25, 2008 at 03:46 PM

The Central Zone waterfowl opener started better than expected for some public hunters this morning.

Take, for instance, the 113 hunters at Rice Lake who shot 196 ducks and two geese. Or the 21 hunters at the Rice Lake walk-in who shot 56 ducks. Or the 34 75 hunters who shot 34 ducks and eight geese at Banner Marsh (not such a good opener, actually). Or just the fact that there were still open spots at Anderson Lake even after the drawing—not to mention a decent number of ducks.

One reason for the latter is the crowd that gathered at the Emiquon Preserve, where 85 hunters entered the drawing for 10 hunting spots.Those lucky enough to draw in enjoyed good shooting overall at the site located between Dickson Mounds Museum and Havana on the west side of the Illinois River. Buddies Randy Reader and Rusty Kaufman both shot limits as did several other groups at the site, which is open to public hunting Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Hunters must enter a drawing by 5:15 a.m.

Visiting Emiquon may well be worth your while. Monday’s survey showed 33,000 ducks at Emiquon and TNC honcho Doug Blodgett said another push of ducks arrived Tuesday. The only problem is, all those birds lured lots of hunters. And that left my hunting buddy The Farmer and me outside looking in.

From TNC’s Emiquon Preserve we hustled off to the nearby Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, which offers public hunting and no drawings. But when we pulled into the spot I hoped to hunt, we saw six vehicles. Another truck was pulling in behind us. That was too many people, we figured. So we left and went to Havana for breakfast. There we encountered a room full of duck hunters headed to clubs south of Bath.

That got us fired back up. So we drove to Anderson Lake on a whim. Lo and behold, they still had spots open in the North Point Walk In. “Our crowd was way down from usual. I think people went to Emiquon,” site manager Ed Oest said.

Then too, there had been doubt as to whether the walk-in at Anderson would even be open due to siltation from the recent flood. The good news is the road leading back to the walk-in is passable. And hunters in Blind 30 shot a limit, while many others at least got some action.

That’s more than The Farmer and I can claim. But at least we got out. And thank goodness there are still 59 days left in the Central Zone season.

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