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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

June 13: Picture of the Day

June 13, 2010 at 07:43 PM

We plant milkweed for the monarchs. But those aren’t the only insects that come calling.

A nice milkweed plant, even swamp milkweed like the one pictured above, will usually host a few milkweed longhorn beetles. This pair appear to be taking a break from eating to enjoy each one another’s company.

The antennae of male milkweed longhorn beetles are almost the same length as their entire body.

These insects are common wherever milkweed is found. Adults eat the leaves and buds of milkweed while larvae bore into the stems.

Birds eat milkweed longhorn beetles.

These beetles also have fully divided compound eyes.

Story and comments

Wild Things 6-13-10

June 13, 2010 at 03:12 AM


Weight in pounds of the Illinois record bluegill caught by Darren May on May 10, 1987 from a Jasper County farm pond.

Mushroom recap

The worst morel season in recent memory ended with a tie for first in the annual big mushroom contest at Schooner’s in Peoria Heights. Lester Bowles of Trivoli and Al Weishaar of Mapleton both found 11-ounce morels to win.

Despite his April 25 find, Bowles termed this a “very poor year.” He found his winning morel in the same area that yielded a winning 11¾-ouncer to his brother, Leslie Bowles of Cuba, in 1993. Lester Bowles also finished as runner-up in 1994.

Weishaar’s winning morel was the only one he found on his 8-acre property. Eran Pierce of East Peoria was second (6.25 ounces) and Matt Stambaugh of Cuba was third (5.5).

Online camping system

Reservations for 67 Illinois campsites and 51 picnic shelters can be made online starting July 7. Visit to save a spot. After July 7, reservations will no longer be taken by phone or mail.

Carp acrobatics ahead

Another spring of high water has dispersed Asian carp throughout the Illinois River. But as river levels drop and temperatures rise, silver carp should start jumping in force.

Signs of that started this week, as several boaters noted increased carp acrobatics. And there’s every reason to think the carp onslaught will only be greater Biologists say there are currently huge numbers of 12-inch Asian carp in the Illinois.

Take care in trapping

Peoria County’s decision to stop taking nuisance animal calls has boosted business for folks like Gary Isbell, who runs the Trivoli-based Nuisance Wildlife Removal. But Isbell said the change has also caused freelance trappers to handle bats, raccoons and other nuisance critters.

“I don’t need any more business, but it is against the law for people to trap animals without a permit,” Isbell said. “Somebody is going to get hurt.”

Isbell said do-it-yourselfers also generally move their problems elsewhere. “I predict there are going to be a lot more raccoons in Glen Oak Park by the end of the year,” Isbell said.

Birding bits

An Egyptian goose that is thought to be a released pet has been hanging around grain elevators in Pekin near the Illinois River. Jerry Milam of Pekin first spotted the bird, which is a native of Africa but has been introduced to the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain (where it is considered a pest).

Kudos corner

Friends of Argyle Lake helped secure a grant to install two fish line recycling bins at Argyle Lake. Bins are located near the boat ramp and near the dam.

This ‘n that

The Spring Valley Walleye Club moved its Barto Landing work day to Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. ... Larry Dozard will give a fishing demonstration Saturday from 2-3 p.m. during the Steamboat Sports Festival on the Peoria riverfront. ... While aggressive wrens and sparrows have been hard on bluebird eggs, “Bluebird Herb” Unkrich of Edwards reports 262 hatchlings and 187 fledglings out of 471 eggs in 120 bluebird nests. Bluebirds are in their second nesting season. ...  Former district wildlife biologist Paul Brewer is the new Illinois wild turkey biologist. ... Visit for applications for the Comlara Park antlerless-only archery deer hunt, which starts Oct. 4.


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