Illinois Outdoors at
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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

Wild Things 3-1-09

March 01, 2009 at 04:38 AM


Percent decline in duck harvest in 2008 compared to 2007 at 26 Illinois public waterfowl hunting areas.

Big racks displayed

Today’s finale of the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic offers your best chance to see big bucks like the Bureau County 14-pointer pictured above hat was shot by Rich Josepher on Dec. 5 and that green scored 186 inches. Josepher brought his buck to the Classic on Friday.

More than 600 trophy mounts are expected at the Classic, which runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Bloomington’s Interstate Center.

Trick shooter Byron Ferguson, a crowd favorite, shows his archery prowess at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Duck harvest down

The Illinois River Valley wasn’t the only area that suffered from a depressing duck season. State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla released estimates showing a 24 percent decline in duck harvest last season compared to the five-year average.

Data was drawn from 26 public areas that typically according for 80 percent of hunter use days. At those sites, 51,166 hunter days accounted for 50, 692 ducks. The daily success rate of 0.99 ducks per hunters is 7 percent below the five-year average and 6 percent behind 2007.

Did you know?

Illinois writer Ron Willmore has reviewed more than 30,000 whitetail bucks entered in the Pope and Young Club’s record books to find the best time to hunt for trophy bucks. His research showed more entries for Nov. 11 than any other single day.

Birding bits

Once again, I’ve got egg on my face. The recipe listed last week for Herb Unkrich’s home-made bird food was incorrect. Instead of one-half cup of lard, the recipe calls for one-half pound. Here is the correct recipe.

Mix one-half pound lard and 1 cup chunky peanut better; melt and add 2 pounds of yellow cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 2 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 cup sunflower hearts and mix well. You can also add chopped dried fruit.

Kudos corner

Manito’s chapter of Ducks Unlimited has been recognized nationally as one of the top fund raisers for D.U.’s habitat conservation work. Manito earned a spot on the President’s Top 100 list out of more than 3,500 chapters nationwide.

“D.U. volunteers have historically gone above and beyond and these chapters exemplify our grassroots system,” said Bruce Lewis, D.U. president. “Volunteers within these chapters are this organization’s foundation and their passion for conservation is what fuels their hard work.”

Tip of the week

High school teams fishing in the Banner Marsh bass fishing sectional on April 24 will compete out of the Main Access Area.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in March ...
Sandhill cranes and even some whooping cranes pass overhead as they migrate north.
Raccoons, opossums, coyotes, flying squirrels, muskrats, chorus frogs and skunks breed.
Chipmunks end hibernation.
Resident Canada geese nest.
Rabbits bear first litters.
Turkey vultures and bluebirds return.
Prairie chickens start booming.
Red maples bloom.
Pheasants start crowing.


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