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

Good new South Dakota outdoors blog

April 30, 2009 at 10:22 AM

If you ever spend time in South Dakota, or would like to, here’s a Web log you might want to add to your favorites.

South Dakota Outdoors

The blog tracks the travels and thoughts of Buddy Seiner from the South Dakota Office of Tourism. But it doesn’t read like an infomercial. More like a blog about what’s going on outdoors in South Dakota.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

A pack of wolves hunting morels

April 30, 2009 at 07:40 AM

Flathead’s Picture of the Week features the Princeville Pack 52 Wolf cub scouts during a morel mushroom hunt late Tuesday afternoon in Peoria county. The wolves picked up 40 morels (mostly greys),  4 old bottles, 3 aluminum cans, 1 corn seed sign, 1 deer leg, lots of mud and saw 2 turkeys and 1 deer. Looks like they had fun in the process.

Story and comments

Open Blog Thursday

April 30, 2009 at 06:56 AM

Yes, it’s Thursday. To compound my workload, the wife and I went to see Cats last night in Peoria. Surely my Thursday filled with work has nothing to do with spending Monday fishing and searching for morels when I should have been chained to a desk. At any rate, “Help!”

FROM Tom Bodtke of Peoria:

Mushroom season is here again and I wanted to remind everyone to collect their mushrooms in bags that reseed the spores. You can use old onion bags or old ham and turkey netted bags. You reseed your favorite mushroom ground for next year as you look for this years mushrooms. Good hunting to everyone!

FROM Marc Rogers:

I am a tournament angler as many others are but people have to remember that the state laws do allow for anglers to keep fish to eat.  This includes bass and the state laws are followed with creel limits in every tournament I have ever fished. 

There are some people getting carried away with the catch and release on some bodies of water and this results in slot limits to harvest the smaller bass.  Many anglers need to see past the bass being pets and realize it is okay to harvest some of these fish.  Also, these kids were proud of their catch regardless of the live well issues they had that day. 

As far as I am concerned your apology wasn’t needed.  Keep up the good reporting for the kids sake.

FROM Brad Douglas of Mackinaw:

I am writing to you asking if you have heard of a new bill called HR 45 Blair Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sales Act of 2009: basically this bill would make it illegal to own a firearm, any rifle, with a clip or any pistol unless: it is registered, you are fingerprinted, you supply a current driver’s license, you supply your social security number, you will submit to a physical and mental evaluation at any time of their choosing, each update- change of ownership through private or public sale must be reported and costs $25.  Failure to do so and you automatically lose the right to own a firearm and are subject to up to a year in jail.  Also there is a child–access provision indicating a gun must be locked and inaccessible to any child under 18.  The government would have the right to come and inspect that you are storing your gun safely away from accessibility to children and fine is punishable for up to 5 years in prison.

FROM Herb Unkrich of Edwards:

Here is what is happening with the bluebirds this spring. Even with the cold spring the box in my yard tied the earliest that I had my first egg which is March 31. There is such a shortage on insects due to the cold weather-that I have seen them take the home made bird food to the nest box to feed the young. I have 54 nest going, 212 eggs and 20 babies. The sparrows have been really bad this year trapping 72, even with that 7 more bluebird nest have been taken over by sparrows. I am guessing next that the buffalo gnats will be coming which can suck the blood out of the babies. I take a cotton ball that is soaked in “pure vanilla” and coat the openings on the boxes. I have also heard of spraying the babies and nest with “eucalyptus oil” to keep the buffalo gnats off, the bluebirds have no sense of smell.



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Illinois hunting and fishing

Frost bite on a turkey toe

April 30, 2009 at 06:01 AM

Frost bite can be tough on Illinois hunting and fishinghumans and tough on critters, too. The feet above and at right belong to a turkey shot on opening day of the 2009 North Zone season by Frank Baxter in Peoria County.

The bird acted normal and came right into decoys despite the rainy morning. Only after shooting the gobbler did Frank realize he’d shot a peg-legged old gimp.

Look at those toes. Nasty. But the bird moved fine.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Morels fair, not great in central Illinois

April 28, 2009 at 03:08 PM

Dave Scifres of Morton found these monster mushrooms last year in Tazewell County in the last week of May.

That’s worth noting, since many morel hunters have been hitting the woods en masse of late with limited success. I posted some success stories yesterday. And there have been more reported today. But so far there have been no tales of the morel motherlode here in central Illinois.

No question, yellows are up. And some decent-sized ones. But most mushroomers I’ve heard from today are talking about half bags. Some are still finding mostly grays. That should change as soon as we get a bit more warmth. And for a change, a little dry weather would help.

Maybe then we can start finding mushrooms as tall as those Scifres is hoisting above.

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