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.

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Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Pheasant Fest worth the trip

February 11, 2009 at 03:30 PM

Last weekend was crazy. Between setting up for the Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Show and spending a full day in the booth there, I made a quick trek up to Madison, Wisc. for Pheasant Forever’s national Pheasant Fest.

The trip was worthwhile, despite all the damn tolls. If nothing else, last weekend got me plenty fired up for upland game season. The obvious problem with that is we’ve got about eight months to wait. Even so, it was fun to spend last Saturday in Madison pondering all the possibilities of trips to the Dakotas and beyond. This fall I am going to spend at least a full week in North Dakota. And I can’t wait.

As for the show, it attracted 20,255 people to Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for the three-day event. This is the fifth Pheasant Fest and attendance was down from several of the previous events. Not sure if that was expected or not given the economy.

Even if things were normal economically, I still think most of your diehard pheasant hunters are in Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas. Wisconsin has a strong contingent, but not like those states.

So it’s no surprise to me that the event is moving back to Des Moines, Iowa next year. PF expects the event will draw better than it did in 2007, when the crowd was 24,510.

“Our No. 1 reason for coming back is Iowa pheasants need help,” Pheasants Forever spokesman Bob St. Pierre said.

Well, that and the fact Iowa should attract a big crowd.

“In Des Moines, with Pheasant Fest, we can be the biggest activity in town,” St. Pierre said.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in Madison, where people obviously had plenty of other things to do. This was the scene on Monona Bay on an unseasonably warm day. Lots of fishing.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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