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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

I give up on the geese (for now)

December 17, 2007 at 06:12 PM

Illinois Outdoors

The geese win. After three days of trying, I have concluded I’m not destined to bag one of the many birds that have been feeding around the Elmwood area. Not without trying, as is obvious in the picture above from this afternoon. Shown above are Brian Rushing and Aaron Naumann of Elmwood, along with Rushing’s 4-year-old Lab, Buck. We got after them again this afternoon. I had to leave early to pick up kids from school, but there were no birds in the air that I could see. all we encountered were a few honkers safely tucked away in strip pits. This was only a small portion of what we’ve been seeing, so where the bulk of the birds feeding around here are roosting is unclear.

Illinois Outdoors

What makes all this frustrating to me is that there are specklebellies around, too. Illinois OutdoorsI’ve never shot one and would love to see one close up. Rushing shot one Sunday evening (while I was at the boy’s basketball practice) and also had two nice Canadas. At right is young Jake Rushing, who spent some time in the field with us (without a gun, maybe next year). All in all, that’s goose hunting. If you go three times you should have chances to kill birds on one. We had chances today, not real good chances, but we couldn’t make it happen. Plus, I learned that hunting from a layout blind is not easy. It’s hard to hear wingbeats and not be able to see the birds.

Maybe next week everything will come together.

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Get the lead out

December 17, 2007 at 06:11 PM

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Dec. 16, 2007 Bergen Record in New Jersey.

“A shooting range along the Passaic River (in New Jersey) is polluted with high levels of lead, arsenic and cancer-causing compounds that may be reaching the river and water supplies downstream, tests performed for The (Bergen) Record show. The tests found soil at the North Jersey Clay Target Club in Fairfield contaminated with lead levels rivaling those at federal Superfund sites.

Water in a pond on the property contained more than 800 times the lead and nearly 200 times the arsenic allowed by state regulations. A ditch fed by the pond and leading to the Passaic had nearly seven times the permissible level of lead. 

The Passaic Valley Water Commission taps the river several miles downstream to supply Paterson, Passaic and other towns. While the commission said there’s no sign the water has been compromised, its director said last week that it would increase testing near the club in response to The Record’s findings.” 

Why mention this? At some point, lead in shotgun shells and fishing equipment will be banned. It’s not if, but when.

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Life ruining goose hunt

December 17, 2007 at 01:27 PM

These geese are killing me. In the past three days I’ve seen thousands of geese and I still have not bagged one. Today was the closest chapter yet in what has become the ultimate wild-goose chase.

While the geese did not fly Sunday morning, I headed back to the field this morning hoping they might change their pattern. Dense fog did not help any. Nor did a dentist appointment at 11 a.m. Frustration.

Eventually, though, a few flocks did fly this morning. The first birds showed up at 10:30 a.m. And as I attempted to head for the dentist office, they kept coming. I was hunting with the Farmer and Aaron Naumann of Elmwood. They did not have a dentist appointment and were more than content to stay in the field. I stuck it out as long as possible, but finally had to head back to town. Frustration.

Before I left we had a few flocks work us, but none finished and they all stayed behind our layout blinds. Frustration. All of which means, they should be flying any minute. Now I sit here, facing the prospect of picking my son up from school at 3 p.m. while the geese I’ve been pining for are out there sunning themselves in the same cornfield I hunted this morning. Frustration.

What to do. All of this because some geese (including specklebellies) have decided to feed in a field for which I have permission to hunt. Frustration.

Hmmm, maybe they’ll fly early and I can squeeze in a hunt before school lets out. Sounds like a plan to me.

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