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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

Big sigh for the upland opener

November 07, 2009 at 06:06 PM

We were within a few steps of the truck when Hawk finally decided to offer the half-hearted point pictured above. Low tail. Not puffed up. And He took time to look me right in the lens when I pulled out the camera.

In other words, I don’t think he was serious about this point (which eventually yielded nothing but did come in an area where I have seen pheasant roosts in the past).

Sadly, Hawk’s approach to the upland opener mirrors that of most. Actually, he was much more intense than most. Few care about upland game in Illinois anymore. Hunter numbers drop every year, dramatically. And for the first time in a long time, I almost joined the majority and sat out an upland opener.

But even with warm weather, too many crops in the field and too few places to hunt, I still feel a compulsion to get out and stroll with the dog. Certainly he feels it. So if nothing else, today was a good chance to get Hawk some exercise and to remind him why we feed him all year.

And we did shoot one dove, early, after spending half an hour in the goose blind to start the morning.

But as far as quail or pheasants, I saw nothing. Not even a roost. Oh, I know the quail are out there. As more crops come out, we’ll find them. But I’ve got to be honest: It’s becoming more rewarding for me to go deer or duck hunting right now. My heart isn’t in Illinois upland hunting.

I hope that will change with the next 30-degree day or the first snowfall. But for now, my upland hunting motivation is at an all-time low.



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