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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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Pros and cons of ground blinds

October 03, 2009 at 09:30 PM

I finally got out this evening for my first-ever bowhunt for deer and I’m already learning fast.

For starters, I’m learning to hate hunting out of a ground blind. I’ve been in them before during turkey season and hated them then. But hatred takes on a whole new level during bow season. As in, how the heck am I going to be able to draw back in this thing?

That said, I didn’t mind the ground blind so much after the fourth rain shower passed overhead and I was still dry. In fact, it was kind of enjoyable to hear the rain pitter patter on the blind while I sat inside dry.

Even so, I’d much rather be in the wide open. But one of my three bowhunting spots is a ditch with no real trees in which to place a stand. So I have opted for a ground blind. Why hunt a ditch? Good question. I figure I’m new to bowhunting so the main point is to get out and hunt. I don’t want to mess up ideal spots, so a ditch is good enough for me. Then too, over years of quail hunting this same ditch I’ve been amazed by the numbers of deer the dog and I have bumped during the day. And the boys and I have visited the same spot and found plenty of deer skulls, tracks and bones (no antlers, but it’s hard to shed hunt with two wild youngsters along). So there are deer in this ditch. Now I just have to figure out how to hunt them.

Frankly, after one evening in the little hut and not seeing any deer, I’m starting to think my tree-stand options look much better. But I keep telling myself, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” So we’ll see.

If nothing else, my buddy Flathead was kind enough to drop off a dozen arrows so that I can no feel safe about shooting at raccoons and opossums when they pass (as one did tonight, without drawing fire since it was too well hidden in the brush).

I’ve got some more brush to add to cover up the top of this ground blind. And I’ve got to cut some better shooting lanes. And I’ve definitely got to bring out a short stool, since sitting Indian style gets old after three hours. Other than that, does anybody have any ground blind advice for a novice?



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