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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

Open Blog Thursday 3-11-10

March 11, 2010 at 05:51 AM

Well, well. We are pulling together our first statewide fishing report for 2010. Help.

FROM Jane Ward, who posted pictures to go with these words:

“(Tuesday) the air in Fulton County was full of geese, mostly snow geese, long lines of geese in all directions joined up into one huge mass of geese circling around over Thompson Lake, which was beginning
to open up in the center of the lake. The came in lower and lower, and I was sure they were going to land, but at the last moment they changed their mind and flew off to the west. When they circled back
over the lake they were sky high again.

“A storm blew through over night, leaving clear blue skies today, and not a goose to be seen. I’m glad I went out yesterday and didn’t wait for the sunny weather!”

FROM Rick Pirog of Granville regarding a recent story on Asian carp coming to Lake Michigan:

“Pretty close to dead center on business as usual for the Illinois River. The first priority on this river system is to keep shipping from dragging bottom (9 feet minimum). That’s when the shovels get dirty. It’s not only water invaders, check out some of our new plants on land and things chewing on our native trees. I think China had the right idea. Build a big giant wall. Oops, I forgot. It’s all about global sharing everything now.”

FROM Randy Kampwerth:

“I read an article in the paper that DNR gave the city of Collinsville $400,000 to build a new restrooms in the city park. I thought DNR was broke and does $400,000 seem like a lot of money for a restroom? I just don’t like ‘giving’ the DNR money away when we are broke.”

FROM Rolline Tomaszewski:

“My husband and I recently retired from the Peoria area and moved to the Mark Twain Lake area in Missouri. On Feb. 25, 2010, we were returning to Peoria and driving on 1200 Ave by Siloam Springs State Park at about 12:30pm. He was driving, and I was just looking out the window at the scenery. The fields and road were still quite snow covered, and the sun was shining brightly. As we went down a hill, there was a somewhat flat area on my right; and I spotted a black animal head approaching us in that area. As it neared us, I realized it appeared to be a large black cougar. I screamed at my husband at what I was seeing; but by then we were starting to climb another hill, and I could see the entire side of the animal as we drove past it. I tried to reach my camera, which was on the back seat floor. I couldn’t get to it fast enough, and my husband couldn’t locate a place to stop and turn around on the road - which was not only hilly, but had a lot of curves.

“I did get to look at the cat at least three different times. It was approximately 15 feet from us, and I could clearly see it. I saw its big black head and even the whiskers sticking out from its head. It wasn’t running, but it was stealthily walking crouched close to the ground and had a really long tail, which was slightly curled up on the end. I did report my sighting to the IL DNR and was informed there are no known black cougars in IL. But, I definitely saw the cougar, and it was black. It really showed up black on the white snow.

“So, my husband and I returned to MO that coming weekend, and this week took a drive to the spot where I had seen the cat. I took pictures showing how close the road was to where the cat had been. I did get out of the car and took pictures of the prints all along the path in the snow that were still there. While we were there, an Adams County Department of Conservation policeman came up to us, and we talked about what I had seen. He said he had actually received about three phone calls that past week of cougar sightings in that area.

“From now on I will always have my camera handy and ready, but there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I saw a black cougar. At least it looked like the pictures I’ve seen of the yellow cougars, and this one was definitely black.”



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