Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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

Grizzly attacks bow hunter

September 14, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Here’s an Associated Press story from Montana to ponder as you gear up for our opening day of bow season.

Grizzly attacks Montana bowhunter

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Wildlife officials say a grizzly bear attacked a bow hunter in the southern Gravelly Mountains near Ennis over the weekend.

Sam Sheppard, a game warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the Sunday morning attack left Matt Menge of Bozeman with a broken right forearm and large cuts to the head. The warden described the attack as fast and sudden.

“This is just something that has the potential to happen when people archery hunt in those areas with a resident grizzly bear population,” he told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “You’re stealthing along, cammo-ed up, being extremely quiet and you just bump into them.”

Sheppard said Menge was hunting near the west fork of the Madison River south of Ennis. The man, who had driven up to the area with a friend, was traveling back to his truck alone when the attack happened and couldn’t reach for his bear spray in time.

Sheppard said no management action is planned for t he bear.

“It’s bears doing what bears do when they are surprised and archery hunters doing what archery hunters do,” he said.

 

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Where are the doves?

August 25, 2010 at 03:52 PM

I drove around quite a bit today hoping to get pictures of a big flock of doves. I am still hoping.

Only what I’m hoping now is that not seeing many doves was not a bad sign. Surely a 57-degree night didn’t send them packing. Or did it?

Whatever the case, I didn’t see many doves. Didn’t see one in the field I will hunt opening day. And didn’t see as many as I had been seeing on country roads.

My fears were heightened when I ran into Mike Hitchcock today. He has some nice dove fields out west of Canton near Double T State Fish and Wildlife Area.

One of the first things he asked me was, “Are you seeing many doves? Because I’m not.”

That’s not good. Usually this close to the Sept. 1 opener, that area will be covered in birds.

And with 50 degrees in the forecast for tonight and Thursday night, things look dicey.

But here’s my hope. This cold weather will bring birds to us from the north. They will have a week to get accustomed to the area, to find fields and gravel and water. And then by next Wednesday, we’ll have some hot shooting.

That’s my hope, anyway.

My other hope is that today was just a fluke. That there are doves everywhere else and I just missed them. So tell me, are you seeing many doves lately?

Story and comments

Indiana ponders shorter deer season

August 23, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Here’s a story that caught my eye. Indiana is actually pondering a shorter deer season.

Strange that, in light of all that is happening elsewhere in the Midwest. Read on.

Some hunters object to Ind. deer season changes

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Some hunters are objecting to a proposed shortening of Indiana’s deer hunting season in November from 16 to nine days, while state officials say added days for the hunting of antlerless deer will balance out the number of female and male deer killed.

The shorter November season is among the deer hunting changes being considered by the Department of Natural Resources that could be adopted next year.

The proposal calls for two antlerless-only firearms hunting days to be added in numerous counties around the state, along with a statewide eight-day antlerless-only season from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1.

DNR spokesman Phil Bloom said by switching more to antlerless deer in October and December, the hope is to even out the ratio of female to male deer bagged each year. With the new plan, 10 days will be for hunting antlerless deer, with nine days for any deer in November.

“The thinking behind that is in deer hunting, it is a fairly selective type of hunting,” Bloom said. “What deer hunter ‘A’ might shoot, deer hunter ‘B’ might pass up,” Bloom said.

Hunter Daniel Terry of Mitchell said the shorter November season would mean only one weekend would be available for hunters.

“My sons and grandsons all work, and they work five days a week, and they don’t have time to go hunt except on weekends,” Terry told The Herald-Times of Bloomington.

Randy Kieft of Bloomington said he questioned how splitting up the hunting periods so much could result in any more deer being killed.

Terry said the shorter November season could mean more hunters will be in the woods at the same time and increase the risk of bad weather costing hunting dates.

“You’re taking a gamble in buying ... licenses and not getting to use them,” Terry said. “I’ve had a regular hunting license for 64 years, and they’ve done nothing but take away from us all through the years. They don’t own the woods. The taxpaye rs own the woods.”

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Illinois hunting and fishing

A snake in the dark

July 20, 2010 at 05:28 AM

Don Osborne sent in this picture of a memorable deer hunt near Allenville.

Writes Osborne, “One morning when I was going to my stand before daylight I stepped on something soft and it started to coil around my leg. After the dance that followed the snake was D.O.A. Not my intention, just the result of panic and surprise. On the way out I took a picture of it. The bow was 36 inches long.”

Can’t wait to walk out to my stand this Oct. 1.

 

Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Planting duck food in the heat

July 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM

On last year’s opening day of duck season, the little wet spot pictured above was filled with water. And ducks. And geese.

Once the wet spot dried out, the ducks left. We still had some shots at geese from our blind, but the ducks wanted the shallow wet spot.

Well, when wet weather drowned out corn planted in the wet spot, a thought occurred to me. “Why not plant millet?”

Hey, if it works for duck clubs, why not for us? Besides, even if the ducks don’t use the spot, quail and other birds will.

So I bought 10-pounds of Japanese millet from Kelly Seeds. They said they had been selling lots of millet to duck clubs in the past few weeks. No wonder, as most corn was drowned and millet can develop seed heads in just 45 days (at least that’s what the seed sellers claim). My helper today, Victor, was pretty unimpressed with the sack of seeds. “Ducks will eat that?” he asked. Let’s hope so.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Everything I’ve read about the stuff says it is best to work up the soil some. But on state sites they also merely aerial seed the stuff. So I tried a combination of the two.

Victor and I worked up a few small spots, including the one below. Those are our test plots. We also scattered seed over the ground elsewhere and hoped it would fall in the cracks and find enough soil contact that way. We’ll check back frequently to see what happens. I may even buy another 10 pounds and seed some more later, depending on how this grows.

Before we had even finished, small birds were already showing up to enjoy the millet buffet. I’m betting doves will be in the worked-up ground in force by this evening.

Illinois hunting and fishing

We would have worked up more ground, but we were relying on hand rakes on a hot day. “This is too hard,” Victor said, shortly before running off to shoot at various things with the b-b gun. Can’t say I blame him. It was hot and the ground was harder than I expected.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Next fall, if we get another chance to do this, I will rig up something I can drag behind the truck to work the seed in better. A four-wheeler would be nice, but it’s not in the budget.

Until then, it will be interesting to see what grows in the area we seed. Even more interesting will be to see if the ducks and geese use the wet spot this fall.

Story and comments

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