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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 11-9-08

November 09, 2008 at 04:34 AM


Number of wild turkeys bagged by shotgun hunters in Fulton County during the 2008 fall season.

Quite a deer tail

The legend of Illinois deer hunting attracts all types. That includes former NFL players like Freddie Hyatt, who was drafted in 1968 ahead of Ken Stabler and Art Shell, among others. A wide receiver for six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Redskins, Hyatt had a rather unique hunt last week.

Bowhunting in Knox County, Hyatt managed to shoot the tail off a big buck that came to within about 15 yards of his tree stand.

Now that’s a first.

Turkey harvest down

While spring turkey hunting continues to gain additional participants each year, the fall hunt is headed in the opposite direction.

Hunter numbers dropped during the nine-day 2008 fall season as did the overall harvest of 878 wild turkeys. That’s the lowest harvest in four years.

“Illinois has had two successive years of below average turkey reproduction, but hunter numbers during the fall gun season have declined as well,” biologist Paul Shelton said.

JoDaviess led Illinois with 80 turkeys. Fulton County topped the Peoria area with 24, followed by Knox 23, Schuyler 14, McDonough 13, Hancock 13 and Mason 12.

Another deer deadline

Friday is the deadline to apply for permits for the Jan. 16-18 late-winter firearm deer hunting season. Click here to apply. Permits cost $15.

Local counties open include: Brown, Bureau, Cass, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Peoria, Putnam, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford.

Hunters are reminded that unfilled firearm and muzzleloader deer tags are valid for the late-winter season, provided they are used in the same county for which they were issued. The same is true of unfilled youth tags.

Urban bears die young

Black bears that live near urban areas weigh more, get pregnant at a younger age and are more likely to die violent deaths, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The study tracked 12 bears over a 10-year period near Lake Tahoe, Nevada and compared them to 10 bears in wild areas nearby. Urban bears weighed 30 percent more on average thanks to a diet supplemented by garbage.

You speak

“My son Joe Woodruff and I participated in the youth pheasant hunt at Mackinaw State Fish and Wildlife Area on (Oct. 25). Joe, 11, shot his first pheasant at the hunt using a single-shot .410.

“We really appreciate the opportunity. If such a program didn’t exist, Joe would not have been able to hunt. We hope that this type of experience will continue and the state pheasant program will still be funded for future young hunters in Illinois.”

— Dave Woodruff, Pekin

Sight-in shotguns

Illinois State Police firing ranges at Metamora and Macomb will be open Saturday for hunters to sight-in shotguns prior to firearm deer season.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants must call to set up a reservation. For Metamora call Trooper Don Filkins at (309) 383-2133. For Macomb call Trooper Neal Merry at (309) 833-4046, Ext. 242.

Kudos corner

Landowner of the Year honors recently went to Dr. Bob Benningfield for restoring and developing wildlife habitat on his Knox County property. Benningfield was one of four Illinois landowners honored by the Department of Natural Resources.


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