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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

Chicago has gone cougar crazy

April 26, 2008 at 10:17 AM

OK, everybody in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs needs to take a deep breath.

This cougar mania is officially out of control. There is not a mountain lion roaming every forest preserve and stalking its way through every cluster of timber.

Yes, there was a big cat shot in Chicago. Yes, it was the first big cat in the big city in a long, long time.

But why now does every person walking their dog think they are seeing a cougar?

Why? It’s called the power of suggestion. Suddenly every yellow Lab, coyote or shaggy dog has become a cougar in the minds of those who catch a fleeting glimpse. And suddenly, because there was one case where this was true, officials have to pay attention to those claims.

Look, I’m sure we’re going to have another cougar in Illinois. Possibly even soon. But the odds of another big cat settling on Chicago as its place to wind up seem very low. Hmm. Lots of people, cars, bright lights and noise. Just what every cougar from South Dakota wants, right? Wrong.

The next big cat will likely wind up along the Mississippi River, the Illinois River or in southern Illinois. But until the next big cat shows up, it will surely be fun to watch all the craziness coming out of Chicago.


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