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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 1-27-08

January 27, 2008 at 03:38 AM


Percent bucks shot by Illinois archery deer hunters this season.

Filling Powerton’s void

Anglers who fished Powerton Lake in the 1990s always tell stories about fabulous white bass fishing. And with good reason. Until 2001 white bass made up 36 percent of all fish harvested from Powerton.

But these days white bass are rare at the cooling lake south of Pekin. To fill that void, fisheries biologist Wayne Herndon is getting creative.

Last year Herndon stocked 45,000 smallmouth fry, 300 breeder smallmouths over 17 inches, 7,500 largemouth fingerlings of 4.5 inches and 150,000 redear sunfish fingerlings. And once fish hatchery production increases, the plan is to stock Powerton with hybrid striped bass.

“We’re trying to find ways to fill the hole left by the disappearance of white bass with fish that are going to do well at Powerton,” Herndon said. 

Wild on the Web

Bloomington developer Marshall Kaisner has created a Web site ( dedicated to trails, hiking, canoeing and biking in McLean County. He hopes to include all outdoor activities available in McLean County on the site. There are also printable maps available.

You speak

“Found (your cougar article) interesting and amusing. Fact is, (my wife) Lori and I observed a cougar for over five minutes from the safety of our sunroom ion June 5, 2007. Yes, we did report it to the DNR.

“Wished we had a camera with film, but had to settle for two pairs of binoculars. It was 110 feet from our windows. We only used the binoculars to see fine detail. There was no doubt. We went out to look for tracks but it hadn’t rained in days. It was easy to take measurements using the corn as height.

“We live one mile southeast of Auburn. A once-in-a-life experience that we don’t expect to be repeated, but it happened. With that being said, we still are concerned for our little dog as she uses the lawn before returning for bed.”

— Steve Frazier, Auburn

Bowhunting for ducks

Some guys like to make things hard on themselves. During a recent duck hunt in flooded timber with Black Dog Hunting Club in Stuttgart, Ark., Chris Brackett of Mapleton shot a hen mallard with his compound bow.

Brackett’s crew captured the shot on video, which he said is the first footage of a mallard shot by a hunter using a compound bow. Next up Brackett hopes to arrow a Canada goose and pheasant.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in February ...

Chipmunks out on warm days.
Red-winged blackbirds, mallards, wood ducks and robins return.
Skunks, mink, raccoons and groundhogs mate.
First squirrels are born.
Foresters and biologists may set fire to prairies and woodlands.
Eastern moles active in deep tunnels underground.
Whitetail deer feed in groups and “yard-up” in bottomlands.

This ‘n that

Coyotes have been hit hard by mange this year according to trapper Scott Davis of Elmwood, who discarded 25 of 97 coyotes trapped this year. Average price for a stretched and dried coyote is $14.

... Pheasants Forever drew a record 29,802 for its Pheasant Fest last weekend in Saint Paul, Minn.

... Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic organizer Glenn Helgeland is searching for deer with locked antlers to display at this year’s Feb. 22-24 show in Bloomington. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 1-800-324-3337.

... The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club will bring its show to Peoria July 10-12.


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