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.

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A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

New Jersey may lease hunting land

December 12, 2009 at 06:11 PM

Here’s a fascinating story that I had to pass on.

Somehow I don’t see why a township should be leasing land to hunters. Shouldn’t the township just be allowing hunting to the public on areas that taxpayers purchased?

Hmmmm.

NJ township eyes leasing some land to hunters

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A Morris County community is considering leasing parcels of open space to hunters as a way to boost revenues.

Washington Township Mayor Ken Short says the idea is in the preliminary stages. But he said the 1,300 acres of land preserved from development and controlled by the township is a potential moneymaking asset.

Short said the township, located about 40 miles west of Newark, has a half-dozen parcels of 40 acres or more that could be used for hunting.

There is precedent. Readington Township in Hunterdon County has leased township-owned open space to hunting clubs for about eight years. It was done initially as a means to control the deer population, but this year the township will get $32,000 from the leases.

Story and comments

DNR deputy director logs 61 flights

November 23, 2009 at 01:30 PM

Deb Stone must be one of the hardest working staffers in the Department of Natural Resources.

Or at least one of the most expensive to keep on staff.

One of several DNR deputy directors, Stone has flown 61 trips from Chicago to Springfield in the past few months according to a column by Chuck Goudie of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. Click here to read the full column.

Goudie credits Ross Weidner of ABC 7 for digging up the data that showed Stone was the single-busiest plane user since Gov. Blagojevich left office.

Stone was far and away the most frequent flier, ahead even of Michael Madigan (whose 31 flights paled in comparison).

Goudie raised a good question when he asked:

“But what could be so urgent about the state’s trees, streams and animals that it’s No. 2 official needs to fly to work more than any other person in Illinois government? Especially since her job was among two dozen DNR positions connected to former governor’s Ryan and Blagojevich that were targeted for elimination last spring?

“She obviously survived the cut, but what was so important it required 61 air trips? Were there last minute problems with the start of deer hunting season last weekend?”

Actually, Goudie is wrong in calling Stone the No. 2 official. That title belongs to Assistant Director John Rogner, another Chicago official in the DNR. Incidentally, it will be interesting to see what his flight log shows in the future.

As for Stone, she is one of several deputy directors in the DNR. I have lost count how many there are, or what they do, for that matter. But I know there are plenty more deputy directors than there are turkey biologists or upland game biologists.

 

 

Story and comments

Illinois in top 10 for worst state budget

November 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Well, well. Illinois has once again made a Top 10 list of dishonor. The latest is the list of 10 states “whose budgets are most at risk in the coming year, according a report released Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States.”

Categories listed show the change in tax revenue followed by the change in the unemployment rate from 2008 to 2009, the most recent figures available. The Pew Center also includes a grade from its Government Performance Project on how well each state manages its money. A national figure is included:

State Tax revenue Unemployment rate Money management
change 2008-2009 change 2008-2009 grade
California -16.2 percent +4.6 percentage points D+
Arizona -16.5 percent +3.0 percentage points C+
Rhode Island -12.5 percent +4.5 percentage points D+
Michigan -16.5 percent +6.0 percentage points C+
Oregon -19.0 percent +6.4 percentage points C+
Nevada +1.5 percent +5.2 percentage points C+
Florida -11.5 percent +4.4 percentage points B-
New Jersey -15.8 percent +3.7 percentage points C-
Illinois -10.9 percent +3.5 percentage points C-
Wisconsin -11.2 percent +4.4 percentage points C+

U.S. -11.7 percent +4.4 percent B-

Story and comments

Ex-DNR official’s take on fee increases

November 10, 2009 at 08:43 PM

Mike Conlin was a long-time official with the Department of Natural Resources who retired earlier this year.

He spent years heading the fisheries department and then was in charge of the Office of Resource Conservation. He was never short on opinions.

Here’s his take on the DNR’s recent license fee increases.

“Just read your article on fee increases posted last evening on Prairie State Outdoors. You scored an absolutely direct hit. I agree with everything you pointed out. Back late last winter I was finally called down to the DNR’s front office for a meeting to discuss the proposed fees (first time I had seen the proposal or been ask to comment on it. Director Miller was not present at this meeting), I stated that I would like to go over the proposal in detail, then discuss the pros and cons. I was abruptly told that ‘We don’t have time for the facts.’ 

“I stated in writing at that time that any proposal to raise hunting and fishing license fees should be accompanied by a detailed description of exactly what we would do with the money generated. This should then be distributed widely to get feedback from our constituents. Once we had their support, we should go forward with a proposal. I also stated that any Park Entrance Fee proposal should exempt those who have a current hunting or fishing license. In addition, I cautioned that the amount of the increases should be carefully considered as we might find ourselves in the position of raising fees only to take in less revenue (the initial internal proposal was to raise both hunting and fishing license fees by $5 each), as the number of hunters and anglers has dropped significantly, nationwide, over the past 12 years.

“The proposal for hunting and fishing license fee increases was later changed to increase the hunting license fee by $5 and fishing by $2.  The rationale was that hunting licenses hadn’t been raised since the early 1980’s while the fishing license had been increased in 1994. True, but in reality, not true. About the time the fishing license was raised $5 in 1994, purchase of a $5 Habitat Stamp to hunt became a requirement. I submit that that was an increase in the hunting license fee!!! 

“My point is that both licenses should be increased the same amount, whatever amount our anglers and hunters determine they will support. That support will only come from being provided detailed specifics of what exactly it is that they will be getting for their money. Generalities like “the fishing license fees will go for support of the fisheries management program” don’t get it. Statements like that cover a multitude of possible sins and one has absolutely no idea where the dollars will be spent. Huge amounts of the Wildlife and Fish Fund have been diverted away from the Divisions of Wildlife, Fisheries, Law Enforcement, and Lands because of the General Revenue shortfalls in the rest of the DNR. 

“While I understand the rationale for some of the redirection (so long as they were legal under both state and federal law), it grew like topsy to the point where it began to undermine the core mission of the Department to conserve and manage our precious aquatic and wildlife resources and their habitats. Continuing to spend money on a “fat executive staff”  should have no place in current spending priorities, let alone be allowed to continue while proposing to raise license fees.

“I believe that Director Miller’s heart is in the right place, but it will take strong constituent pressure to get the Governor’s Office to allow him to pursue the actions that so desperately need doing.”

Story and comments

Would a hunting governor help?

November 06, 2009 at 06:15 AM

I was just reading a story about Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty going deer hunting this weekend for the Seventh Annual Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener.

Similar hunts are held in South Dakota (pheasants) and Kansas (pheasants). Makes me wonder if something like that would help in Illinois?

The real question, I guess, is would we have a governor willing to hunt. I think Pat Quinn would be willing, but he may not get another opportunity after this fall.

The way I see it, a Governor’s Hunt could raise money for the DNR.

Just a thought. The Minnesota event is sponsored by the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association in cooperation with Explore Minnesota, the DNR and the community of Thief River Falls.

That gets me to thinking about another thing: Why isn’t there an Illinois Deer Hunters Association? Hmmm…

Story and comments

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