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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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Peacock Quest

October 15, 2009 at 09:15 PM

When Vickie Mulligan called seeking a good home for two “wild” peacocks in her Lake Camelot yard, there was only one answer. Flathead. He and his wife have such a menagerie at their Peoria County enclave that a few colorful birds would fit right in.

Sure enough, Flathead rigged up a trap into which Vickie and husband Greg Mulligan eventually lured Pretty Girl and Big Boy. Where the peacocks came from, nobody knows for sure. Lake Camelot is a subdivision located southwest of Peoria in the middle of farms, ravines and woods. Most likely somebody raised these peacocks and then let them go.

Whatever the case, when they showed up at Mulligans, they shocked Vickie. The morning the birds arrived she had taken a pain pill for a sore neck. Later, while going out of her garage to let the family dog in, she noticed a male peacock fanned out in her yard. She worried maybe the pain pill was stronger than expected.

“The first time I came out of the house and saw the male all fanned out I didn’t know what I was seeing,” Vickie said.

She called husband Greg at work, where one of his co-workers joked, “She probably saw a turkey.”

Vickie did not laugh. She’d seen turkeys in the yard before. But peacocks? That was a new one.

Anyway, the colorful birds hung around for three weeks, eating bird seed and roosting in a big oak tree behind the Mulligan’s house. But with colder weather started approaching, Vickie got worried.

“I’m sad to see them go, but they needed to find a good home before winter,” she said.

That’s why she called me and why I called Flathead, whose wife Lora raises chickens, turkeys, pheasants guineas and just about any other type of fowl you can imagine. She also has some free-range birds that move around the yard in a large pen.

Flathead adapted that pen to catch the peacocks. He cut out one end and rigged it to a string on a pole. Vickie and Greg put food in the pen for a week before the male would finally enter with the female. Last Sunday, Greg pulled the string (after hiding around the corner) and the birds were caught. Lora wrassled them out of the pen (with surprising ease if you ask me) and then they were hustled into a dog crate.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Now Pretty Girl and Big Boy are living at Flathead’s house. Word is they have adjusted well to the new surroundings.

I sure hope they have, anyway. Some reports say peacocks can live up to 40 years. That’s a long time to put with an annoying pet.

Then again, there are also some reports that say peacocks taste good. .


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Illinois hunting and fishing

Hunter finds locked bucks

October 15, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Here’s one more bit of proof that it’s time to get out the rattling anters.

Last Sunday afternoon, J.P. Roth of Morton found a pair of Tazewell County bucks locked together. The 8-pointer was already dead but Roth had to dispatch the 10-pointer.

“It was kind of a crazy sight and hunting experience,” Roth said.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

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Bucks fighting along Interstate

October 15, 2009 at 06:26 AM

So there I was Wednesday morning, driving eastbound into work along Interstate 74 and blabbing with my buddy Flathead about hanging a deer stand. Part way through Peoria, just before the University St. Exit, I looked to the south and saw two young bucks fighting along the road in the ditch. It was 9:30 a.m. and they were out in a very visible area, locking antlers and seemingly unconcerned about the rest of the world.

I guess it’s time to bring the rattling antlers along on the next bowhunt.

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