Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at
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

Wild Things 11-29-09

November 29, 2009 at 03:45 AM


Number of trips on state aircraft DNR deputy director Deb Stone has flown from Chicago to Springfield since Rod Blagojevich was ousted, most by any politician.

Booner spooners

One night while working on duck decoys, Jake Meyer of Manito and some buddies had a revelation. They decided to create a contest to recognize the duck hunter who kills the shoveler with the largest spoonbill.

So was born the Big Spoon Contest, which has 60 entrants and is topped by a bill of 4.01 inches (under the Spoonmasters scoring system). Josh Spracklin of South
Pekin shot the super shoveler at Clear Lake and stands to win $600.

“We’re having a ball with this,” Meyer said. “We even use calipers to measure the bills.” While entries are no longer accepted, Meyer said next year’s Big Spoon will be even bigger.

Outdoors answers

Q: “Does Mason County have a late-winter antlerless deer season?”
— Carl H. Armbrust, Forest City

A: Yes, this is the first year Mason County is open to the late-winter hunt, which runs Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 and Jan. 15-17. Other local counties open are Bureau, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford. Counties that will have unlimited late-winter tags on sale are Fulton, Hancock, Putnam and Schuyler.

Birding bits

The long-tailed duck, also known as the oldsquaw, have been known to dive 240 feet deep. That was determined in 1968 when a group of the ducks were caught in gill nets set 240 feet deep on Lake Ontario.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in December ...
Raccoons den up and breed.
Bald eagles move toward open water at locks and dams.
Some bats hibernate or spend winter in deep sleep in caves.
Screech owls, barred owls call.
Skunks sleep during weather of 15 degrees or colder.
Gray squirrels, red foxes begin breeding.
Beavers feed on sapling reserves
Unbred does enter second estrus.
Whitetails form winter groups.
Badgers dig up, kill and eat hibernating woodchucks

This ‘n that

Tuesday is last day to apply for the first lottery for spring turkey permits. Visit to apply.

... Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller will speak and answer questions Wednesday at Pekin’s Miller Center at 5:30 p.m.

... Jim Herkert of The Nature Conservancy will take over as director of DNR’s office of resource conservation.

... Conservation scholarships of up to $1,000 are available for high schoolers who work with Illinois natural resources. Applications are due Tuesday. Visit to learn more.


Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Bass still fat, plentiful at Emiquon

November 27, 2009 at 06:07 AM

In late October the Department of Natural Resources did population surveys of bass at the Emiquon Preserve near Havana. As expected, they found plenty of bass. Plenty of fat bass like the one held above by biologist Ken Russell, which is our latest entry in Flathead’s Picture of the Week.

They aren’t the only ones who have surveyed the lake with success. Trivoli bass angler Ron Boyer says fishing bass been fantastic this fall—better even than the 100-fish-per-angler days of the summer.

Makes you wonder what next spring will be like out there, doesn’t it?

Ponder that as you admire this wide shot of Emiquon.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Story and comments

Open Blog Thursday 11-26-09

November 26, 2009 at 03:58 AM

Turkey to carve and eat. Rolls to butter and eat. Sleep. Long turkey-induced naps. Happy Thanksgiving. And help.

FROM Stan McT:

“Along the lines of Loren Cook’s comments on negative stories on hunters ... the negative stories don’t bother me as long as they are called ‘poachers’ when it fits, instead of hunters. If a hunters shoots himself or someone, that’s a sad story, but they are hunters (if hunting legally) and it’s a good reminder to the readers to be safe - not all stories have happy endings. If they are in a story because they’ve been arrested or shot some one while doing something illegal, they are poachers and should be distinguished as such. An important distinction in my mind and something the public needs to consider.”


Story and comments

Maybe hunting with the wife isn’t so wise

November 25, 2009 at 02:41 PM

Hmmm. Maybe hunting with the wife isn’t such a great idea after all.

Woman charged with killing husband

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - A north Mississippi woman has been charged with murder, days after her husband was killed while the couple was deer hunting together.
Oktibbeha County Chief Deputy George Carrithers says 37-year-old Verina Marie Childes of Maben was arrested Wednesday. She was being held in the county jail on a
$125,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Carrithers says Childes and her husband, 32-year-old Douglas Marion Childes, were hunting together Sunday when other hunters in the area heard a shot. Carrithers says Douglas Childes was found dead from a single gunshot wound.

The deputy says the investigation continues.


Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Poetry for guys

November 25, 2009 at 06:55 AM

Dunlap native Scott “Stormin” Norman left home for 12 years to work and enjoy Alaska.

Since returning home to spend time with his mother in Princeville, Norman—who bills himself as the Picasso of Pumpkin Carving—has spent time carving wood and pumpkins and writing poetry.

His latest collection is called “Poetry for Guys,” with poems on topics ranging from cleaning paintbrushes to mushroom hunting to starting lawn mowers.

“Somewhere along the line poetry quit being fun and started being work,” Norman said. “When you sit in a deer stand and you notice something, that’s what I’m talking about. We see things that are unique or cool, but there’s something poetic about it.”

The book costs $9.99 and is available at or call (309) 264-7209.

Future works will include “Poetry for Dogs.”

Here are a few samples.

No Trespassing

Why is it
All the good mushroom hunting spots
Are in the woods
behind no trespassing signs?
A better question though
Is how do I know this?

Dog nails

The pink part is called the quick
if you cut it
quick to bleed
which happens often enough.

Trim the nails
in the bathroom
closer to the first aid kit.
The smooth floor
doesn’t absorb the blood
the way the carpet does.

The dog comes in the room
head bowed down
walking in with the same gait
of a dog in the pound
taking a one way stroll.

A hand held guillotine
chops the tops of claws.
A black hood covers the nails
not the executioner.
The quick hides in black nails
A hidden vein
inside an ebony fingernail.

The dog watches every trim
with yelp ready, no doubt.
How they squirm
when there is a chance
for blood and pain.

First one done
then a second
then a third
a false sense of security?
Clippings jump from the clippers
cheerleaders of a painless shave.

It is done
the baking soda
stays in the box.
A rub of the head
an aggressive
“You’re a good dog.”
A furious dash
for an open door
escape from grooming hell.

A single treat
no, better make it four
one for each successful paw.
Jerky treats
canine cigarettes
calming the nerves of the dog
while tobacco treats
calm the nerves of the groomer.



Story and comments

Page 1 of 8 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›

Scattershooting Archive

Lampe's Top 10 Links

Hunting Links

Fishing Links

Birdwatching Links

Other Outdoors Links

Fun stuff

Recent entries

Scattershooting Categories

Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to My AOL

Subscribe in Bloglines

Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons