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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

Missouri mountain lion?

December 27, 2007 at 02:39 PM

Illinois Outdoors

This photo is reportedly of a cougar killed in Steeleville, Mo. According to the e-mail that accompanied this picture, the hunter is 6-feet tall and weighs about 220 pounds. As the story goes, he was in a deer stand and saw the big cat pass him downwind. Then the cat passed him upwind. When the cat passed even closer, the hunter decided it was time to shoot. He figured the cat was hunting him.

Whether there’s any truth to this or not remains to be seen. Who knows, this might be a South Dakota cat picture. But it’s definitely a big cat.

UPDATE: There’s no truth to the e-mail. Apparently the picture has been circulating for nearly four years. Click here to see Snopes’ report on the issue. The Boone and Crockett Club also has an entry on its Trophy Watch section. Click here to see the original thread that started all this. The cat was shot in Washington. It weighed 190 pounds and the hunter was 5-10. So nothing in the e-mail I received was accurate.

This all reminds me of a bear under a combine that was found in a cornfield in FILL IN A TOWN NEAR YOU HERE.

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A list for the New Year

December 27, 2007 at 10:36 AM

Columnist Don Dziedzina of the Lincoln Way Sun floated a recent column on fishing resolutions he’s making for 2008. Nice idea. Click here to read his column. Oddly enough, at least from a standpoint of fun activities, his first resolution is to clean out his garage and organize all his gear. Really. That’s smart and admirable, but not much fun.

I was thinking of drawing up a more enjoyable list for 2008 after watching previews for “Bucket List” a movie coming soon with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. The basic premise is to make a list of things to do before you kick the bucket. Similar ideas have been around for years and there’s even a country song I like about the subject. Something about riding a bull. I’ve actually drawn up a few of these lists over the years. Now’s the time for another.

1. Welcome the newest little Lampe into the world. Don’t expect many columns from me in the middle of January. My wife tells me we will be very busy. This will make three boys. My poor wife. 

2. Help make Prairie State Outdoors the hottest outdoor Web site in Illinois, if it isn’t already. Once hunting season ends and the baby arrives, I am going hog wild on PSO. So stay tuned. Bookmark now and check back often. We’ve got some real neat features Illinois Outdoorsheaded your way in 2008, including full coverage from the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic in Bloomington (this is a great year for big buck stories).

3. Take the boys fishing more often. This will be my resolution every year until they leave home. But once they are old enough to start hunting, fishing will rank behind: Take the boys hunting more often.

4. Catch a 7-pound bass (and release it). I caught a 6-pounder in 2006 and hoped for a 7-pounder last year, but the one fish I hooked that might have made that mark slipped off my Chatterbait at the side of Gordon Inskeep’s little red canoe. I can still see that fish when I close my eyes. Grey. Huge mouth. Fat white belly. And gone.

5. Shoot a limit of quail in one day, not the entire season. It can be done. Maybe not with my shooting skills, but it can still be done even though there are fewer quail out there on our barren landscape.

6. Take the family canoeing. Not the baby, I guess, but the boys for sure. We went a few times on various lakes and ponds last year but never took a Spoon River trek like I had hoped. This is the year.

7. Tent camp once again at Evergreen Lake’s Comlara Park. That’s still the finest campground I’ve found in central Illinois.

8. Find another excuse to ride a mule. Let’s see, over the years I’ve gone coon hunting on a mule and last year we went morel mushroom hunting on a mule, all courtesy of Ken Parr of Metamora. Surely there’s got to be another way I can get paid to go ride a mule.Illinois Outdoors

9. Shoot a specklebelly goose. Normally by this time of year I’m not real excited about goose hunting. But the prospect of bagging a big white-front has me fired up. Now’s a perfect time to make this happen.

10. Pick up my 2006 turkey mount from Dave Emken. Hint. Hint.

Of course, there are still few days left before this list will be etched in stone. So send me your own resolutions and maybe I’ll change a few. If nothing else, making a list helps build enthusiasm for the year ahead.

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