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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

Scattershooting at deer and peacocks

October 16, 2009 at 04:13 AM

Rambling through the outdoors wishing October and November were 90 days long.


Man what a weekend. Trout season opens. North Zone duck season opens Saturday. Big bucks are running wild. The duck blind still needs brushing. I need a clone. ... Speaking of the fall trout slaughter, hatchery raised fish will be fair game on Saturday at 37 sites including Mineral Springs Park Lagoon in Pekin, Argyle Lake, the Hennepin Canal visitor’s center pond, Siloam Springs and Citizen’s Lake in Monmouth. Canned corn sales should be good. ... Unfortunately, corn harvest is not good. Through Sunday Illinois farmers had combined a mere 6 percent of the corn crop (vs. 19 percent last year and the five-year average of 56 percent) and 10 percent of soybeans (vs. 42 percent and 64 percent, respectively). ... Mike Resetich are you out there? I want my peeing duck decoy back. ... One good thing about a late harvest is that it should delay fall plowing and provide more waste grain for ducks, geese and other critters. Field hunting could be hot — if we ever get fields to hunt.


Deer season has started extremely well for hunters. Cool weather is an obvious explanation for record numbers posted by archers through last weekend (11,945 deer) and for youth firearm hunters. Fulton (331), LaSalle (276) and Peoria (268) rank third through fifth statewide so far for archers. ... Unfortunately, the three counties also rank in the top 10 for deer-vehicle collisions. Peoria (642) was second only to Cook (1,008) in reported deer crashes last year. ... Youngsters shot 2,304 deer, more than double last year’s 1,007 and well over the 863 of 2007. Fulton was fifth at 73 deer and Pike County led with 116. ... One of those Pike County deer was an impressive 9-pointer shot by Blythe Denny, 10, of Peoria. The best deer management change in years was to let kids shoot bucks in the youth season. ... Bowhunters also killed big bucks last weekend despite wearing blaze orange. Best we’ve seen is the 29-pointer Beardstown’s Nate Campbell arrowed in Schuyler County. Campbell’s buck is the second in Illinois that could top 230 inches this season. ... Those big bucks are no shock. Since 2000, Illinois leads all states with 523 entries in the Boone and Crockett Club record books. Wisconsin (442) is second and Iowa (339) is third.


When Vickie Mulligan called seeking a good home for two “wild” peacocks in her Lake Camelot yard, there was only one answer. Flathead. He and his wife have such a menagerie at their Peoria County enclave that a few colorful birds would fit right in. Sure enough, Flathead rigged up a trap into which Vickie and husband Greg Mulligan eventually lured Pretty Girl and Big Boy. Where the peacocks came from, nobody knows. “The first time I came out of the house and saw the male all fanned out I didn’t know what I was seeing,” Vickie said. “I’m sad to see them go, but they needed to find a good home before winter.” ... Speaking of boastful birds, Our Neighbor Ash is the only rooster I know who crows about turning 56. ... Spent Wednesday at Shea Stadium in Peoria on an evening better suited for duck hunting than soccer. Left with two thoughts. 1. What a fantastic venue for soccer. 2. There’s way too much bickering in college soccer. Hearing Bratley players whine reminded me why I never liked forwards back in the day.


Kudos to Mike Barnes of Mackinaw for his win in last weekend’s Illinois Bass Federation Classic at Lake of Egypt. He weighed in seven bass at 22.07 pounds to win a new Ranger 188VX boat valued at $34,000 and cash and prizes. John Southey of Bartonville was third and had big bass of 5.5 pounds. ... Toothy critters are biting just in time for Saturday’s Gregg Tichachek Memorial muskie tourney at Evergreen Lake (309-531-1831). And both Banner Marsh and Snakeden Hollow produced fish longer than 45 inches this week. That said, the hottest bite for numbers right now is the north end of Spring Lake. ... How good is duck hunting at the Spring Lake Bottoms Unit? Consider that 592 people applied for the 104 permits issued at the area’s four blinds. But only 295 hunters showed up last summer for the 20 blinds allocated on nearby Spring Lake. ... Did you know a male peacock has spurs like a turkey? Or that peacocks have been known to live for 40 years in captivity?


It’s time to get out the rattling antlers. Driving to work at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday I spotted two bucks battling along Interstate 74 near the University St. exit. And last Sunday, J.P. Roth of Morton found a pair of Tazewell County bucks locked together. An 8-pointer was already dead but Roth had to dispatch a 10-pointer.  ... Keep an eye on Dunlap’s high school bass fishing team this spring. Justin Siekman of Dunlap was fourth at last weekend’s 27-team Hawk Open tournament on Lake Shelbyville. Siekman had four bass weighing 7.01 pounds. ... Up to 300 teams are expected to compete in this year’s IHSA tournament May 7-8 at Carlyle Lake. It will be interesting to see who takes over prep fishing now that Dave Gannaway announced he will retire after this year. Gannaway has been a great ambassador for the sport…. Parting shot: The outdoors world lost a good soul when Wilbur Moore of Morton died recently. Thanks to his generosity, folks at Wilmor Sportsmen’s Club have had an affordable spot to hunt and fish since 1962. As Moore once said, “I’m one of those guys that wants to see other people enjoy it.” Sadly, too few folks share that sentiment.


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