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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

Wild Things

September 28, 2008 at 03:26 AM


Estimated national population of bobwhite quail today, down from 31 million in 1967.

Booner bullfrogs

Glasford tele-hunter Chris Brackett will be back on television starting this week with a new show called Arrow Affliction airing on The Sportsman Channel and on Pursuit Channel.

Brackett’s first show is a wild bowhunt for “Boone and Crockett bullfrogs” in a farm pond near Princeville. Footage includes Brackett swimming after and wrestling with a snapping turtle
he shot with his bow.

“The show is primal. It’s like MTV’s ‘Viva La Bam’ gone bowhunting,” Brackett said. “If we can think it up, and it’s legal, we will try it.”

The Sportsman Channel is available on Comcast Cable systems for an additional charge. Pursuit Channel is available to Direct TV subscribers.

Sportsman Channel show times are Mondays at 6 p.m., Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 9:30 p.m.

Free hunts for veterans

The Hilst family of Havana is offering free guided deer hunts and fishing trips on their farms in Fulton and Cass counties for disabled veterans of the ongoing war in Iraq.

The Hilsts also have a cabin and a wheelchair-accessible bed and breakfast. Hot meals will be provided.

Trips will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Call Wes Hilst at (309) 657-3262 or Pete Hilst at (309) 338-0968.

You speak

“I have fished off the dam at Bernadotte for 30 years without drowning. Leave the fishermen alone. They know when it’s safe to be out on the dam.
“If the DNR in its infinite wisdom bans entering the exclusion zone (300 feet above the dam to 50 feet below) the little cafe and ice cream stand will probably close. Economically for our area this will be devastating. Please help us persuade DNR to rewrite 17 IL Administrative Code 3703.”
 — Paul Martindale, Ipava

Birding bits

Despite problems with sparrows and raccoons, Herb Unkrich of Edwards fledged 416 bluebirds on his 80-box trail. Unkrich kept tabs on 130 nests that yielded 570 eggs and 460 hatchlings — the last of which hatched on Sept. 5. All totals are up from last year, when Unkrich had 395 fledglings.

Unkrich is willing to turn in nest totals for others to the Bluebird Society. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (309) 673-1074.

Wild on the Web

Click here for digital copies of James Audubon’s bird engravings from his book “Birds of America,” which are available for free thanks to the University of Pittsburgh.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in October ...
Deer rut starts.
Beavers gather winter food.
Bullfrogs, woodchucks hibernate.
Katydids sing in trees at night.
Snapping turtle hatchlings head for water.
Peak migration for woodcock, chimney swifts and green-winged teal.
Puffball mushrooms appear.
Lakes turn over and stratify.
Peak fall colors for maples, oaks and hickories.
Last rabbit litters born.
Little bluestem turns bronze on hill and sand prairies.
Pheasants form loose flocks.

This ‘n that

Duck hunters headed to North Dakota for the Oct. 4 opener will find 23 percent fewer wetlands than last year. The wettest areas are in the northeast and southeast.

Levees at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana will not be opened to cars for the annual fall auto tour.

Contrary to what the Illinois Fishing Information guide says, fishing will be allowed at Snakeden Hollow through Oct. 12 and will not close Oct. 1.


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