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

When hunting is more than sport

March 29, 2010 at 07:37 AM

It’s relatively easy in our civilized country to forget that hunting has not always been something people could protest against.

Time was, everyone relied on hunting for food and even for safety.

In parts of the world, many still do. Here’s one example, though I suppose somewhere, someone will say the giant snake mentioned below should merely be trapped and relocated.

Indonesian village hunts for 7-meter killer python

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian villagers are hunting a giant python that killed a 13-year-old boy a week ago on Sumatra island.

Police Chief Capt. Joshua Tampubolon said Monday that the 23-feet-long (7-meter-long) python was believed to be hiding in waterway tunnels built by a textile company for its industrial waste.

Villagers from Percut Sei Tuan in Deli Serdang district blocked road access to the tunnels Sunday to protect the public.

Tampubolon said the victim and three friends were swimming in the Tembung River when the snake attacked March 21. It strangled and nearly swallowed the boy before villagers armed with spears forced it to flee.

Pythons native to Indonesia usually grow up to 6 meters.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Wild Things 3-28-10

March 28, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Percent of adult eagles counted during the annual mid-winter census.
A prairie primer
In the months to come spiderwort and other native forbs will bloom in prairies across Illinois. Princeton author Jannifer Powelson has published a book to help children learn about 20 of those native plants.
Powelson’s 52-page book “Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie” is an interesting and informative junior field guide for early grade school children.
Powelson is a conservationist for Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District and said she got the idea for a book when her first daughter, Alexandra, was born in 2003.
“Through my job I do programs like this all the time at different educational events so it’s an extension of that,” said Powelson, who hopes this will be the first of several stories about Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk exploring nature in Illinois.
The book is sold at, or at the Stark County SWCD office in Toulon.
Fishing licenses expire
Anglers and hunters in Illinois are reminded that 2009 licenses expire on Wednesday. So get out and purchase a fishing or hunting license now to avoid a ticket.
Beware you will pay more to fish or hunt in 2010. The cost of a resident fishing license is now $14.50 from $12.50. Hunting licenses go from $7 to $12. DNR hopes to generate $3 million with the increases.
Eagle count down
Eagle counts were down across Illinois this year during the annual mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey conducted by Audubon Society volunteers at 45 locations. The 2010 total of 1,185 eagles was well below last year’s 3,030, though ice cover made some areas inaccessible. Of the eagles counted, 73 percent were along the Mississippi River, 19 percent were along the Illinois River and 8 percent were at other locations.
Trout season ahead
Trout season opens Saturday at 43 locations across Illinois, including Siloam Springs State Park, the Hennepin Canal Visitor’s Center pond, Gurney Road Pond at Jim Edgar-Panther Creek and the I&M Canal at Utica. The state will stock more than 60,000 rainbow trout. Anglers must purchase a $6.50 trout stamp and must have a valid fishing license. The daily limit is five trout.
Young birders club
The Illinois Ornithological Society is forming an Illinois Young Birders Club for youngsters age 9-18. In addition to an online forum and a place to post pictures, the group will offer a calendar of field trips, a quarterly newsletter and
Membership costs $10 per year, though adults can also sponsor young birders. Visit to learn more or e-mail Brian Herriott at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Outdoors answers
Q: “Have you heard anything about changing the rules at Emiquon to allow boats with outboards that have the prop removed.”
— Darin Reed, Pekin
A: There’s no truth to that rumor said Jason Beverlin of The Nature Conservancy. “Our rule has always been no gas-powered motors, not even on the boat,” Beverlin said.
This ‘n that
The road to the Bell’s Landing Access at Banner Marsh is closed and in need of repairs. Site staff has requested $25,000 to repair the rutted road. ... Turtles are on the move so here’s a reminder the only legal methods to take them are by hand, landing net or hook and line. Rodding for turtles that are then taken by hand is also legal.
compiled by JEFF LAMPE

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Wolf or coyote? You make the call

March 24, 2010 at 09:58 PM

Austin Fiddes sends in this picture of a big canine snapped recently by a trail camera on the outskirts of Hanna City. Writes Fiddes, “Recently, I was out checking my trail cameras for the first time in awhile and as I looked through the pictures I came across this picture of a wolf (which looks to have mange). To my knowledge this is the first confirmed sighting of a wolf this far south in Illinois.”

The mange part I tend to agree with. That critter has a nasty case of something.

But I’m not so sure about the wolf part. What do you readers think?

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Weather will dictate my spring

March 24, 2010 at 12:36 PM

For the rest of April, I am planning my work week based on the weather.

For years now, I’ve been stuck in the office on gorgeous April days when people caught fish and then been outside on miserable days when I froze my hands.

No longer.This year during the early spring fishing season I am playing the odds and picking fishing days based on the weather.

So far, I’m 1-1 in my picks. Last week I got out on a warm Monday and caught a nice fish. But I missed the best day of last week, which in my book was Friday. I heard all kinds of glowing reports from anglers.

So this week, I picked Tuesday as a prime day to fish. The weather was good: warmer and with less wind. To me that’s the key. It doesn’t have to be sunny, just stable, warmer and not too windy. Those are the days I plan to target. Later in the spring, as the strip mines clear up and the crappie get spookier, I will actually target cloudy days. But for now, I want warmth and not too much wind.

Unfortunately, the strategy didn’t work well in Tuesday. Chef Todd, Gordon Inskeep and I managed to not catch a fish in two hours of wetting a line in some pretty good Peoria County waters. I even cheated and had live minnows.

Whatever the cause for that momentary blip, it won’t deter me from following my plan through April. Now I just hope the weather predictors do a good job of helping me plan my weeks.


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Illinois hunting and fishing

Waterfowler project: build this blind

March 23, 2010 at 06:42 AM

Waterfowlers are always looking for ways to pass the time from one hunting season to the next.

One sure way to make this offseason pass quickly would be to replicate this blind in your timber hole.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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