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 12-10-09

December 10, 2009 at 02:38 PM

There are goose decoys to rescue before the ice (and coyotes) eat them. There is warm-weather deer gear to get ready. And work to do. Help.

FROM Eldon Pulfer:

“Last Wednesday evening, I attended a meeting with (DNR Director) Marc Miller at the Miller Center in Pekin. Along with Marc were state representatives Dave Koehler and Mike Smith. I was embarrassed by the low turnout for this meeting! I think there may have been 10 people total in attendance. That is a shame considering the flak that these guys get on this web site and then nobody shows up to speak to them!

“For the last two years I have sat and read everything you chicken little, arm-chair biologists have to say (you know who you are). Where were you when you could have spoken to these gentlemen to their faces? Quite frankly you make us sound like a bunch of idiots! Several years back, I believe it was the bow hunter society that made the big push for a two buck limit. The state biologists said that it wasn’t neccessary but they listened to “us” and we got it.

“About the same time there were several counties that indeed had low deer numbers and the DNR responded by restricting hunting in these areas. Don’t say that they don’t care or listen!

“Getting back to the two-buck limit issue, the purpose was to lessen the number of bucks taken. Am I correct? So now why are we complaining because the buck harvest is down? The DNR must be scratching there heads, wondering what the hell do they want?

“We also have guys saying that the herd is being decimated in one sentence and then asking for an earn-a-buck system! You can’t increase a decimated deer herd by shooting the does and protecting bucks! Get your story straight! By the way, there have been some mighty big bucks taken from this"decimated” deer herd this year.

“Moving on to “QDM.” If you want to practice what you want to call QDM that is fine but don’t try to push it on everyone. Not everyone has the same opportunities and not everyone is after a big set of horns especially youngsters wanting to shoot their first deer. Most of us just want the opportunity to hunt, but big antlered deer are causing our current problems with land access and outfitters. With the numbers of large bucks taken this year things will probably get worse.

“A troubling fact that some states are doing is putting a price on a bucks head if poached. Why should a big buck that is poached be a $20,000 fine but a doe maybe $200? The act of poaching is the same, the fine should be the same—either high or low! Every healthy deer is a quality deer.

“Where are the deer? They are still there. I too had a poor gun season last year with few sightings but people who saw deer saw alot. I had a successful early bow season and saw herds of deer in late December and January. I have no idea where they were during the gun season. This year and last have similar issues: standing corn, high water, weather, lack of acorns (at least in the areas I hunted), extreme bowhunting pressure (the numbers grow every year) and probably even pressure from the trail-cam fanatics! None of which the DNR has control over. It is funny how nobody bitched about there lack of trail-cam pictures except to say that the deer were always moving at night! Go figure.”

FROM Amy Funk of Eureka:

“Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has completed a property plan, available at http://www.girlscouts-gsci.org/long-range-property-plan. One survey from the plan claims that most girls want air conditioning and electricity throughout camps. This small survey is being marketed to the volunteers and the board as a driving force behind closing several camps, with the promise of a state-of-the-art, modern destination camp, with a price tag of $7.1 million above the revenue anticipated from property sales. Translation: the destination camp will not happen, even with revenue from land sales, without extensive donations. While the plan publicly supports traditional and primitive camping opportunities, at a recent community meeting the message was ambivalent. Although it was stated that these opportunities would be available, we were also told several times, “Girls don’t want that any more.”

“No doubt, with limited resources, some difficult decisions need to be made. It’s disconcerting that some of the people making these decisions have little to no hands-on Girl Scouting or outdoor education experience. This data, if anything, is reflective of our failure to invest money in quality resources to our leaders, parents and girls for introducing wild places throughout the age levels. Pricey air conditioning and extensive lighting are not the answer to what the Girl Scout organization has lost; girls can get that at the mall. We should pick up the challenge of our original mission and invest heavily in dynamic, challenging & progressive outdoor experiences for girls.”

FROM George Cummings:

“Thanks, I think you are the only person whoever put in print the possibility for the Illinois deer herd declining. Or at least you asked the question. I truly believe it is, contrary to statements and beliefs of our game biologists and state officials. It would be very interesting to do some comparisons.

“I have hunted for years, my sons have hunted for years. We own two farms we use primarily for hunting. We try to manage timber, habitat, etc. We also try to be very selective on what animals are harvested and try to keep abreast of what the neighbors shoot. I have been fortunate enough that I have worked in the ag industry for years and also have several other farms we can or do hunt.

“Sometimes I think I am a minority in thinking that deer are declining or at least will be in a rapid downward spiral if we continue on the path we are currently on. I do not always see the quantity of deer I once saw. In some areas I believe the population peaked in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

“You could probably devote an entire section of your paper debating this.

“For the past few years I believe if checked out the deer kills have leveled or in some cases dropped. There’s always an excuse why: weather, corn, you name it. But in contrast, permits issued have gone up, indicating lower success rate which points to less deer.

“Second, there has been a large public push to convince people to kill more does. A lot based from special interest of insurance companies or farmers. Many insurance claims are probably blamed on swerving to miss deer etc. (came in 12 ounce bottles).

“They have unleashed the bowhunters to be able to decimate the antlerless population also.

“There are probably 20 times less farmers than there were 35 years ago. So between leasing, fewer farmers, people buying land, the fact most people never hunted deer until the big trophy deer push starting around early mid 90’s, turning more hunters on less ground and giving some completely unethical hunters unlimited permits to kill antlerless deer, guess what? In some areas the deer population is rapidly falling.

“If the state is going to have a blanket policy on opening antlerless deer to such an unlimited degree it needs to be micro managed. Because there are a lot of very, very stupid unethical idiots out there that will and shoot any that moves that is remotely the same color as a deer.

“Some people think you can build a pond, stock it with 500 catfish and catch 50 a day and keep them forever. No. On the 11th day you’re out.

“We are very fortunate to be able to hunt these animals. We should not take them for granted. We should not abuse, carelessly destroy them all in the name of the almighty dollar.”

 

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