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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

Bucks and quail but no ducks

November 01, 2009 at 01:22 PM

The highlights of this morning were these:

1. Jim Wetherington (above) cooked an awesome breakfast, which was greedily inhaled by myself, Dave Finney (below) and Dave Asbell.
2. We repeatedly saw a large covey of fat quail.
3. We watched a nice buck running a doe all over a bean field.
4. We told many good stories.

Illinois hunting and fishing

But when that’s all you have to show for a promising day of duck hunting, you know all is not well in the waterfowl world. For the record, we never fired a shot at a duck or goose. That’s not right. Not on the second day of the Central Zone season, in a private blind that has not yet been hunted, within shouting distance of the usually very productive Spring Lake Bottoms Unit.

What gives?

“I think the ducks are just scattered all over,” Asbell hypothesized, a thought that was backed up by Spring Lake site manager Stan Weimer.

While Spring Lake shot a very respectable 118 ducks and seven geese on opening day for 64 hunters (best since 1996), Weimer saw many more ducks in the evening all over the river. “There were ducks everywhere, flying north, flying south, flying east and west,” he said.

Recent flooding has given ducks plenty of places in which to scatter and they are obviously taking full advantage. Shoot them hard one day and you might not see them again, as Nate Herman proved. Hunting the same field in which his crew had shot 23 mallards on opening day, Herman did not see any ducks to speak off Sunday morning.

I guess that leaves us duck hunters right there with farmers hoping for dry weather and for the water to recede. Maybe then the ducks will concentrate back into our hunting spots.

Until then, I hope the breakfasts are as good as today’s and the bucks keep running does.



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