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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

An icy finish to duck season?

December 10, 2009 at 08:16 PM

I left the decoys out as long as I could.

The Farmer and I hunted Tuesday morning and picked up half the goose decoys and a few ducks.

We left a few behind because my plan was to return this morning, shoot some geese or ducks as the other shallower ponds froze, and then get the dekes out to safety.

Half the plan worked perfectly. More than half, actually. The pond did not freeze, thanks to strong west winds. The decoys came out safely, if a bit icy.

But as for shooting ducks and geese, well that part fell short. Not that it had to. It’s just that hunting all day Tuesday in the cold and rain with no luck took the starch out of me. In other words, I wimped out this morning. Instead of hunting, I slept in and then got the kids to school.

And then, while picking up decoys without a gun, I watched geese fly overhead for a solid 10 minutes. First a flock of 40 cacklers, two big honkers, one snow goose and three white-fronts soared overhead as I sat picking up decoys, with my truck running near the bling. Then came another flock of geese. Then another.

Oh well. At least the decoys are safe from gnawing coyotes and ice.

I’m not so sure about our duck season. North Zone hunters are done Tuesday and likely won’t get out again. We in the Central Zone have until Dec. 29 and will likely see a thaw ahead. But will we see any ducks once the ice goes out? Hard to say.

At least there’s still plenty of goose season left to even the score. No doubt the lake will freeze tonight. No doubt it will open again before Jan. 31. And when it does open again, I’ll be even hungrier.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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1st is these fancy camoflauge and face paint. Then motorized decoys and now, BLING. Its amazing there are any ducks and geese left.

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