Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Gobblers are winning

April 26, 2010 at 09:18 PM

Well, after three days of turkey hunting so far this third season, the turkeys are winning.

Friday was my opening day of the season and I never heard a gobble. Hunted until 10 a.m. (I know, should have stayed out longer) and never heard a single gobble. I did bust one bird off the roost walking in (he was in a place I didn’t expect him to be). So my opening day was pretty much a dud. So much so, that I worried whether any birds were on the property.

Never fear. Saturday morning the birds gobbled like a fire. I heard at least four different gobblers (if you are willing to believe I can tell the difference) and had a very close encounter with a jake. Actually, I had three close encounters with the same jake. He was all around me like a puppy. At one point, he was just 4-5 feet away looking intently to see my decoy (which had blown over). If he’d had more than a 1-inch beard I’d have shot him. But with all that gobbling going on…

Needless to say, I’m sitting here Monday evening thinking that jake looked like a good shot after all. I couldn’t hunt Sunday and today was a bust. I got out super early (in the blind by 4:50 a.m.) and was ready. Normally I just run-and-gun hunt and today was the first time I’ve hunted from a blind in a few years. My plan was to get close to the turkeys, call, lure them in, shoot one and be done.

Well, I never heard a gobble. Stayed in the blind until 10 a.m. and never heard a gobble. Walking out I searched for mushrooms half-heartedly. Never found one of those, either.

And just as I was preparing to cross the dam of the lake, a bird flushed from along the shoreline and flew across the lake, no more than 3 feet above the water the entire time. I think it was the same jake that had been searching for me on Saturday. Come to think of it, he might also be the bird I bumped on Friday.

Anyway, when I go out Tuesday morning (assuming I can get up) I am going to forget the blind and try to get as close to the first gobble I hear. Or maybe I’ll just set up and try to shoot that silly jake.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

April 26: Picture of the Day

April 26, 2010 at 09:05 PM

Birds amaze me in many ways. There’s the whole migration thing. And the staying alive in freezing temperatures when you expect their feet to freeze.

But they also amaze in the way they can find food. Saturday in the rain, the ball diamonds at Elmwood’s Sweetwater Park were worked up in an effort to get rid of weeds that had been left to run amok by an inattentive head of parks. That’s another story, but what’s more pertinent to this post is the fact that doves were all over the diamonds by Monday. They were probably there Sunday, too, only I didn’t get out to see.

And the birds were very, very hesitant to leave the diamonds. No doubt there were plenty of weed seeds for them to gorge on.

My question is, how do they find them so fast? How do they locate the seeds moments after somebody puts them on the ground?

I leave that for you to ponder. For now I’m glad to have another picture so I can sleep and chase the gobblers in the morning.

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