Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Open Blog Thursday

July 24, 2008 at 07:46 AM

We’ve been working so hard the past few weeks we didn’t even have time to let you folks fill this space. But your words are too valuable to be supressed for long. So here goes another edition of Open Bog Thursday.

FROM Chuck McDaniel:

I’m 64 and I remember when I was a kid and would hike to the “country” to play in the creeks and timber, etc. We could hunt anywhere in the area, without even asking permission. About 25 years ago I realized that future hunting and many outdoor activities would be very limited for my kids and grandkids, since we didn’t own any land at that time. I was fortunate that I had the money to buy a 230-acre farm. We built a cabin, dug a well, put in electricity and plumbing and started enjoying nature as often as possible.

This was the best investment I ever made ... not talking financially… but now my grandkids spend a lot of time out there. For the young ones, playing in the creek is their favorite thing to do. To see the look in their eyes when they capture a frog or turtle is priceless. They come back to the cabin with mud from head to toe. I’m sure they will remember their ‘creeking’ for years to come. For the older kids, we have several parties ... 4th of July, weiner roasts, hay rack rides, etc. that they also look forward to.

I can agree with portions of everyones posts regarding this issue. But my own take is, kids need to be kids sometimes. Organized sports (and computers) seem to have taken over our kids. I feel we need to help them be kids, to get dirty and wet, to chase butterflies, to learn all about nature.

FROM Bernie Barton of Elmwood:

I’m sure your column this week about the creek incident will hit a nerve. Perhaps you might prefer to be a straightforward hunting and fishing scribe, but societal frictions reach into pretty much every walk, and you can be commended for at least this acknowledgement.
 
I’ve heard it said that “kids need nature” and it’s absolutely true. Not even so much in light of the obesity epidemic, but simply because they are hard-wired to interact with the out of doors and its natural features. It’s as much a matter of mental development as physical.
 
The steady march away from agrarian lives continues today, with more and more land controlled by fewer and fewer. Where there is opportunity for outdoor recreation, it is increasingly placed in the hands of club managers, outfitters and the like, and is generally not for youth.
   
Your rather careful choice of language could not belie the hypocrisy of stating a fear of liability for playing in a creek while inviting membership to ride all-terrain machines. The casualty rate for such activity is astronomical, along with the assault on land and ear.

One might be forgiven for assuming you might want to take a path of lesser resistance, to go along to get along and to continue to enjoy your own access without stirring up controversy ... but we have a responsibility to more. Thank you.


FROM Mary Kuntz:

I read your account of the playing in the creek. It is sad that things have happened to the open freedom that we, as kids, used to have. Playing in the creek was a big, big deal for us. Thank you for your accurate description of all the fun.

We do an event every year in honor of my brother (Larry Goodlick) who passed suddenly at fairly young age. He was quite a fisherman. We as kids, were raised down around the Powerton area. We used to sneak in to fish the small lake, but when it was made legal, wasn’t as much fun. He was known around Pekin for things he did for kids and fishing. When he went fishing, he always took 3 or 4 extra rods/reels with him. When he saw a child with no pole or rod/reel, he would pull over and give them one, along with a few pointers. People would bring him tired and worn out rods/reels, he would repair them and take them with him. You would never see him that he didn’t have extras in his pick-up.

We have a Fishing Derby every year at Pekin Park Lagoon. That weekend, Friday afternoon, and Saturday til noon, is this weekend. We work hard all year raising funds, the fish fry is our biggy, and we get lots of help of business and other people. This is all free for the kids. We have stations that they have to go thru to earn their fishing license for that weekend. Tie different knots, casting, IDNR last year had a station that they brought many discards that have been found in the Illinois River when cleaning up. It proved to be very interesting. We stock the lagoon a short time before, prizes are given for everything imaginable.

Last year we had a small boy, probably about 3 who was very upset that he hadn’t caught anything. He within a short time fell into the edge of the Lagoon, his sun glasses fell into the water, and when he picked them up, a tiny minnow had gotten caught in the hinge where the earpiece connected with the lens. He won the prize for the “smallest fish”. We try to give a prize to every child. We give them a t-shirt, lunch, and lots and lots of fun. We have grown in the years we have been doing this, which this year coming is 8th. Every year we have more kids sign up. Our concern is that it will get too large for the Lagoon, where will we go then? To reinforce my proudness, would you take a few minutes and check out our website, Larry’sCastingKids to see what we do. Would you just mention us and our task that we have taken on, simply for the love of our Brother and fishing!

FROM Chris Gustafson:

I just wanted to share this pic of a huge snapping turtle that my friend took while kayaking the Chicago River earlier this summer. Looks like it might be even bigger than Nate Herman’s 26 pounder! I just wish it was a little closer to the camera.

Illinois Outdoors

FROM Billie Maquet

So why exactly do we see the need to kill these few scattered wolves as they enter in to Illinois? Shame on these “hunters” ... and I use the term loosely! Wolves should be allowed to exist in our wilderness areas unharmed just as other species do. They are not going to attack and kill humans. We need to learn to live WITH the wild things and not try to control or destroy them.

FROM Sarah Deig:

Attached please find a picture of the top four finishers of the Pottstown 3-D Archery Summer League: (left to right) Chuck Thome, 3rd Place; Roger Whitby Jr, 1st place; Glenn Wells, 4th Place and Tom Schmitt Sr. 2nd place.


Illinois Outdoors

FROM Leigh Morris, a spokesman for AmerenCILCO:

Regarding your column of July 19, you were incorrect in stating the Duck Creek Plant is owned by AmerenCILCO. AmerenCILCO is a delivery company and does not own any generating plants. The Duck Creek Plant is owned by AmerenEnergy Resources Generating, which also owns the E.D. Edwards Plant in Bartonville. For your future reference, the correct name of the company is AmerenCILCO not Ameren Cilco.

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