Illinois Outdoors at
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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

Reminder: Be careful gun hunting

November 16, 2008 at 08:47 PM

Here are two Associated Press stories from other states already enjoying gun hunting season for deer. Both stories serve as timely reminders to be careful this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the first segment of the Illinois gun season.

Minn. deer hunter’s slug cracks distant window

SOUTH HAVEN, Minn. (AP)—A Minnesota deer hunter learned an important lesson: remember how far your shotgun slug can carry.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said 39-year-old Brent Lang of Redwood Falls and a friend were hunting Saturday when Lang fired upward out of a hollow at a running doe.

Officials say the slug missed and traveled three-fourths of a mile before grazing a window at the home of David and Theresa Weis. She was in the family room and he was on the roof installing Christmas lights, and neither was injured when the outer pane of the window broke.

Both hunters were released after being told to check their surroundings completely when hunting. Lang will pay for the window damages.

Hunter shot and killed in Adirondacks

KEENE, N.Y. (AP)—State Police say a 35-year-old hunter was mistaken for a deer by another member of his hunting party, shot in the head and died.

Leo J. Hickey, of Elizabethtown, was shot Saturday in Keene. Police say he was shot by Michael M. Smith, 45, of Lake Placid, who was taken into custody because he is wanted in New Hampshire on felony drug charges.

The Essex County District Attorney’s office said he would be extradited, and charges related to the shooting were pending.

Story and comments

Wild Things 11-16-08

November 16, 2008 at 03:30 AM


Number of wild turkeys shot in Peoria and Fulton counties by bowhunters through Nov. 13.

New way to hide

It’s no secret that three-dimensional camouflage can help hide a hunter. The problem with ghillie suits and other 3-D clothing is that fabric catches in bows, branches, thorns and other encumbrances.

Jim Crane of Farmington and Tim Wells of Canton hope they have the answer to that with their camo design called Power Pleat that is an officially licensed product of Mathews Bows. The design uses unique stitching patterns and up to 30 percent more fabric than a usual garment to create a 3-D look without loose ends.

Crane and Wells recently imported a second version of Power Pleat, which is offered in shirts, pants and coats and is sold at Pekin Bass & Bow and Wolf Hollow Archery in Rome. Crane said stitching problems in the first generation of Power Pleat garments are fixed in the latest offering. Click here for details or call 1-877-647-4010.

Tip of the week

Illinois deer hunters are reminded that baiting or feeding deer is illegal. So while stories can sell products like C’Mere Deer, such attractants are not legal for use by hunters.

Slow-moving cranes

Weather has not cooperated with this year’s ultralight-assisted migration of whooping cranes. After reaching Illinois on Monday, birds were grounded through Friday in Winnebago County — with just 129 of 1,285 miles completed.

Eventually they will fly and when they do, a viewing area has been set to see the birds as they leave LaSalle County for Livingston County, possibly as early as today. Sightseers can gather at East Si Johnson Avenue and East Pleasant Street in Sheridan.

Wild on the Web

Anglers interested in winning prizes can visit and check out the What’s Up tab in the left corner for details on various contests.

Turkey talk

No this isn’t about Thanksgiving. But 515 Illinois bowhunters have already arrowed a bird for the upcoming feast. Those totals through Nov. 13 are down slightly from the past two years. Peoria and Fulton counties rank third in the state overall in harvest, behind only Jefferson County (20) and Macoupin (18).

In other turkey news, hunters are reminded that they have through Dec. 1 to apply for the first lottery of spring turkey hunting permits. Click here to apply or to print out a paper application.

Did he call me a nimrod?

While perusing old copies of the Journal Star, Joe Bates pulled this memorable story lede from the Nov. 11, 1958 edition.

“Wells, Vt. (AP) — Sportsmanship sank to a new low Monday when a deaf and dumb nimrod was robbed of his first deer.”

For those who didn’t know — like all of us at work who have been laughing for days — the word nimrod was once a common synonym for hunter. That apparently traces back to Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah who was reputed to be a skilled hunter.

This ‘n that

... The Toluca Sportsman’s Club has a big buck contest for all kids 16 and under. Call Jim Clanin at (815) 228-9695.
... Tim Fitton of Washburn has earned a Santee Cooper Trophy Five Award after catching a 55-pound flathead catfish at that South Carolina impoundment this year.
... Permits are still available to hunt pen-raised pheasants at Sand Ridge State Forest, Johnson Sauk-Trail State Park and Moraine View Recreation Area. Click here to apply. Moraine View has hunts through Nov. 30 only.

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