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

Illinois hunting and fishing

April 24: Picture of the Day

April 24, 2010 at 09:31 PM

One of the things I really enjoy about turkey hunting is simply seeing what’s out there. Whether it’s a large tree gnawed to the ground by a beaver or an old Chevy left to rot on the edge of the timber, there’s a lot to see in the timber.

And today, thankfully, a lot to hear, as well. Friday was first day I could hunt on my third-season tag and I did not hear a gobble all morning. That had me worried whether there were any turkeys left in the timber I was hunting.

The answer came this morning, emphatically. Yes, there are gobblers. Plenty of them judging by the racket I heard from about 5:20 to 7:15 a.m. Unfortunately, none of those big gobblers came in range. I did have a jake walk within a few feet of me, twice. But his tiny beard did not interest me ... at least not on the second day of my first hunt. I still have time to go and Monday and Tuesday look like prime turkey-killing days to me.

But Saturday wasn’t about killing for me. It was more about seeing the sights, like the old truck (which I think could make a good project for somebody, somewhere) and a hen wood duck coming in out and of her nest 30 feet above my head.

That and listening. There is no better sound in the hunting world than a gobbler in the still-dark morning. That sound alone makes all the ticks, gnats, mud and lost sleep worthwhile.

Hearing all those gobblers today made me think of Bob Dylan. Why? Hey, sitting in the woods alone, you have plenty of time to think. And for what to me were obvious reasons, every time a bird gobbled in the distance, I thought of Bob Dylan and his take on” title=“rolling stones”>rolling stones. You know the line. “Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse. When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

I probably didn’t heed Bob’s advice quickly enough today. I was pretty content to make small moves and soak in the surroundings. But all in all, it’s not a bad song to be humming in the woods in between gobbles.

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