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

September 9: Picture of the Day

September 09, 2010 at 10:06 PM

When we moved into the house, one of my early battles with my wife was the light over the shed door.

She hated the fact that it beamed over the yard all night.

I loved that fact it beamed over the yard all night.

Six years later, the light beams on. And aside from the million bugs that gather outside my shed door, I still like the light.

Well, this year, others have learned to love the light, too. Nearly eery night when I wander out to the shed, a fat toad is sitting under the door stoop, waiting for bugs drawn to the light above.

And this morning, early, I spotted this little fellow sitting on the siding. Though I’m no frog expert, I’d say he’s a gray tree frog—the first I’ve seen in my yard, though I’ve heard them calling often.

Anyway, the more I watched and clicked, the warier he became. First he hunkered back into this piece of trim around a window. Eventually, he slipped into a crack somewhere and disappeared entirely. My guess is he lives inside the siding, emerging only after dark to enjoy the bounty from the light.

One more reason I won that small battle.

Story and comments

Open Blog Thursday 9-9-10

September 09, 2010 at 08:48 AM

Fishing report? On a day when Canada geese are flying? Help.

FROM Don Axt of Peoria:

“Not enough is being written on changing climate and wild things.I don’t see many birds around here. Many birds of my boyhood are really scarce: blue jays, house wrens, chimney swifts, night hawks are few and far between.  Even robins and house sparrows are becoming scarce. I don’t see many Canada geese and where are the red-wing blackbirds? I read that Inca dove populations of the south west are diminishing. Maybe it has to do with winning the war on insects.

“And trees. We have two osage orange in the yard. No “oranges” this year. I will get on down the street to check the oak acorns. Maybe the rainy spring hit the acorns. But redbuds are lush.

“Again … I wish someone would take on this climate change question.”


Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

September 8: Picture of the Day

September 08, 2010 at 11:21 PM

It never fails to amaze me that the Illinois River can look so blue from a distance.

Spend time on the river and you know it is not blue. Lake Okoboji is blue. But not the Illinois River.

Yet this evening, with the sun setting and folks everywhere soaking in the rays, the Illinois River deserved to be blue.

Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Albino deer up north

September 08, 2010 at 07:16 AM

Mike and Marshia Crowley e-mailed us a note after a recent post by Tim Walmsley about a rare black fawn.

Turns out the Crowleys also live in the midst of some rare deer around their home in northern Wisconsin.

Here’s some information from their Web site.

Albino Deer or “White Deer” are a very rare breed of White-tailed Deer in Northern Wisconsin. There are only 200 to 300 Albinos in the entire state of Wisconsin. We are very lucky to live near a State Forest and lots of private land. Albinos are protected in Northern Wisconsin and can not be hunted.

When we first moved here in 1994 we would only see a couple of Albinos every now and then. I built a Food plot to attract deer and now there are 4 Albinos living on our land and another 20 or 25 within 2 or 3 miles.

They live with the brown whitetails but do not like them. The Albinos are a lot more aggressive and will fight the brown whitetails to chase them away. They do interbreed and have both white and brown fawns. We love all the deer but when an Albino comes into sight you do not even notice the brown deer. They are truly one of God’s most beautiful and rare animals.

Click here to read and see pictures about these albinos.


Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

September 7: Picture of the Day

September 07, 2010 at 09:53 PM

If this is the sort of standing corn left this fall, I doubt many deer will be hiding in the fields.

Monday’s latest count showed 7 percent of the Illinois corn crop was in the bin compared to 1 percent last year and the five-year average of 2 percent.

Corn was 57 percent mature, compared to 3 percent last year and the five-year average of 24 percent.

Based on what I saw today, the combines will be out rolling in force this week. Windy warm weather should only help bring down moisture content and boost that maturity level to even higher percentages by next Monday.

Also ahead of schedule are soybeans, which showed 49 percent turning yellow on Monday compared to 6 percent last year and the five-year average of 31 percent.

Illinois hunting and fishing

What’s it all mean? Early harvest.

Story and comments

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