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

Illinois hunting and fishing

No duck blind, again

July 27, 2009 at 06:23 AM

The weather was nice. So was the company. And the food.

Truthfully, the latter two reasons are why I attend the annual duck blind drawing at Rice Lake along the Illinois River. I’ve already drawn a blind once in my life and the odds of that ever happening again are long. So I attend the drawing with no real hope of being drawn. That tends to make the day much more enjoyable when standing in a crowd of more than 1,000 people and hoping for one of 30 blinds available.

Here are a few observations after Sunday’s big event at Rice Lake:

  • So much for crowds being down due to a lack of food planted at Rice Lake. I’m betting this year’s crowd was as big as normal.
  • The white bass cooked up by Adam Jaegle and crew was excellent, far better than most white bass I’ve tasted in the past. I’m not sure if it was the setting or the cooking, but either way I ate too much.
  • Richard Bettler of Pekin will be hoping against hope that no dredge machine shows up at Rice Lake this fall. Bettler was first out of the hat and opted for Blind 27 in Big Lake. While that’s a hot spot, Big Lake has been slated for dredging for years and site manager Bill Douglass (pictured above running the drawing) said there’s a chance the process could start this fall. Horrible timing, of course, but what else would you expect from a project that involves federal dollars?
  • Represented in the crowd Sunday was the holder of the state smallmouth bass record, a man who has caught an albino mole in his yard and a man who recently shot a World Slam in 53 days while bowhunting for turkeys. More about this later.
  • I appreciate the cheat sheet put out by Rice Lake staff giving kill totals for all of the blinds for the past five seasons. Top blinds at Rice are: No. 30—339.2 ducks per year, No. 27—324.7 dpy, No. 3—318.8 dpy, No. 15—234.4 dpy, No. 4—234 dpy, No. 25—200.5 dpy, No. 26—194 dpy, No. 2—191.6 dpy. The top five on Sunday went: 27, 15, 3, 26, 30. So the fifth pick actually ended up with the top kill blind, based on average. That went to Mark Gilles of Kickapoo.
  • Even without a blind, I am more excited about duck hunting heading into this fall than I have been in years. I’ve already started working on decoys and scouting spots. I’ve just got a hunch we are due for a really good duck season. Now if the state could ever release duck hunting season dates…

 

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