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Jeff Lampe
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

A pair of wild goose chases

November 11, 2009 at 08:05 PM

One day too late. That’s the verdict on a Veteran’s Day filled with wild goose chases.

One morning ago the sky was dark, the wind was whistling, rain was coming and geese were moving everywhere.

Not so today. Even so, the morning started in a picked Peoria County corn field (not far from The Shoppes at Grand Prairie) that has been luring big bunches of geese for days. Nate Herman, half the Herman Brothers Pond Management dynamic duo, invited me, Mike Steffa and Drew Homan for a morning hunt that was as sure as a sure thing comes.

With heavy frost and a decent northeast wind, we figured the scene was set as we crouched in some standing corn and waited. The camo was great, as you can tell by checking out Nate and Justin Herman (above) and Nate’s father-in-law Lee.

The cornfield was so good at concealing us that Justin cracked out his computer and started surfing the net. I was instantly jealous and started thinking about all the big buck stories people were no doubt submitting. That sobering thought made me glad I was not in front of a computer and was sitting in a corn field.

Illinois hunting and fishing

But the geese would have none of it. We had one flock of cacklers circle us a few times and probably could have taken a crack on one pass overhead. But they had been finishing for days in the field with no hunters around. Why would today be any different?

Why indeed. That was our only chance at geese. Nate and I shot at a passing crow with no luck. At least breakfast was very good.

To cap off the day of wild goose chases, I took middle son Victor out for an evening hunt. He threw rocks at decoys, went in and out through the dog ramp and shot his BB gun at frogs (no, he did not kill any, he’s a Lampe). Later he came and sat on my lap and told me about his day of school.

Illinois hunting and fishing

He had a ball and so did I. That was without any geese, though we did see a covey of quail fly across the lake as the sun set. Once again I was hunting the wrong species at the wrong time. But you know what, it was still wonderful to be outside.

Here’s to all the veterans who made it possible for all of us to enjoy the wonderful outdoors in this country.



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