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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 10-18-09

October 18, 2009 at 11:26 AM


Millions of meals provided by hunters who donate venison to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program.

Ducks and pucks

Surely you’ve heard the one about going to a fight when a hockey game broke out. But who has ever heard of going to a duck-calling contest and then seeing a hockey game?

That contest is part of the unique promotion at next Wednesday’s Peoria Rivermen game. Billed as Ducks Unlimited night, the event incudes drawings for a 12-gauge Browning Silver shotgun and a trip to Big Oak Hunting Paradise, a youth calling contest and a duck decoy toss for prizes during intermissions. Best of all, part of the proceeds benefit DU. For tickets call (309) 680-3763.

Deer donations sought

The Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program is again seeking donations of deer to help food banks, food pantries and other charitable organizations. Since 1994 the program has overseen more than 573,000 pounds of venison, including more than 106,000 pounds last year.

Hunters are encouraged to donate $50 to help cover the cost of processing deer, but may also donate a deer without making a contribution.

Local meat processors include Astoria Meat Market, Raber Packing Co. in Peoria and Houser Meats in Rushville. Visit to see all processors. Or call Tracy Shafer at (217) 785-5091.

Did you know?

In 2008 the peak abundance of total ducks counted in aerial surveys was on Nov. 10. Surveys counted 221,300 ducks on that date, which was 16 percent above the 2007 peak but 24 percent below the five-year average for peak count.

Charles Perdew news

Slowly but surely progress is being made at the Charles Perdew Museum complex in Henry. In addition to a roof on Perdew’s old house, there’s a handicapped parking area on site.

To pay for more improvements, the Perdew Museum Association has a dinner and auction Friday at the River Valley Bowl in Henry. Doors open at 5 p.m. and there will be a drawing for a Perdew crow call. Tickets are $18 and are sold at Henry State Bank and the Paint Store in Henry.

Visit to learn more about the museum or to order Perdew prints, hats or shirts.

Nice bass

Biologists are out checking fish populations in public lakes across the area and Evergreen Lake is one spot that has a surprisingly strong bass survey. The sample showed 356 bass per hour, nearly 230 more than the next-highest catch rate from 1998. While most fish were under 10 inches, the future looks bright.

The same is true at Johnson Lake in Banner Marsh, where 15 percent of the bass were over 18 inches and were in excellent body condition.

Birding bits

A handful of the latest group of 18 whooping cranes finally started their migration south from Wisconsin’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge on Friday. Weather delayed the start by nearly a week and several birds did not follow the ultralight plane.

Depending on conditions, the birds could be passing through Illinois next week. To watch the birds’s progress, visit where one of the newest features is the Crane Cam.

This ‘n that

The Wetlands Initiative and the Department of Natural Resources came to a preliminary agreement Thursday on rehabilitating Hennepin and Hopper lakes. A fish rehab should start in March.

... Coles County is among the counties open for the late-winter deer season and will not be closed during the antlerless-only hunt, as indicated in previous DNR releases.


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