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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 2-1-09

February 01, 2009 at 04:25 AM


Illinois bass anglers qualified for the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series.

DNR director stumping

By the time you read this, Kurt Granberg may no longer be director of the Department of Natural Resources. But he won’t lose his job for lack of trying, or talking.

On Thursday, more than an hour before the Senate voted to oust Rod Blagojevich as governor, Granberg was on the phone, trying to distance himself from Blagojevich and pitching himself to remain atop the agency he was named to run on Jan. 16.

And he offered a snappy rebuttal to those who say the DNR director position requires a biologist or avid hunter. “To do this job I don’t need to wear a coonskin cap or go out and take water samples.”

Even so, the writing is likely on the wall for Granberg. Possible candidates to take over at DNR include Marc Miller, one of Gov. Pat Quinn’s top aides. The question, though, is whether Quinn has enough aides to place one at DNR. Time will tell.

Wild on the Web

Former Washington resident Dennis Minor is a candidate to be 2010 Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year. Minor, who still has family in central Illinois but now lives in Alabama, won the same award in 2000.

Click here to view his painting “Beam’s Creek,” which depits a black Labrador retriever and a pair of wood ducks. You can also vote for Minor if you want.

Wild game feeds

Anyone who enjoys wild game has two good options Saturday.

Phil “Duck Commander” Robertson headlines a game feed Saturday at Expo Gardens in Peoria. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call (309) 712-1462 or 688-3641.

Also Saturday, the McLean County Sportsmen have their wild-game banquet at Bloomington’s Interstate Center. Advance tickets are $25. Visit, Darnall Gun Range or Smiley’s Sport Shop.

Incidentally, food at last weekend’s Independent Sports Club’s event in Kickapoo was excellent. So was the home-made wine, with Charlie Ludolph of Kickapoo winning for best grape wine and Robert Schaub tops among fruit entries. The ISC also raised $10,175 for youth sports.

Kudos corner

Pat yourself on the back, fellow hunters. Bonnie Cannon reports that hunters have donated enough Canada goose carcasses to feed the falcon and Cooper’s hawk at Wildlife Prairie State Park for the entire year.

Numerous deer carcasses went to feed the bald eagles and various large predators at the cash-strapped park. Donations are still welcome. Call (309) 676-0998.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in February ...
Chipmunks are out on warm days.
Red-winged blackbirds, mallards, wood ducks and robins start to return.
Skunks begin to mate.
First squirrels are born.
Foresters and biologists may burn prairies and woodlands.
Raccoons, groundhogs breeding through March.
Eastern moles active in deep tunnels underground.
Bucks are losing antlers.
Mink begins breeding.

This ‘n that

The Central Illinois Boating & Fishing Show scheduled for East Peoria Feb. 20-22 was cancelled.
... Chris Nasses of Peoria and Ed Gillot of Manito won Presley’s Outdoors’ fifth annual crow-a-thon with 58 crows. Presley’s has another crow contest next Sunday, Feb. 8. Call (309) 697-1193.
... Flooding last September dumped 3,400 cubic feet of debris along the Illinois River shoreline at Starved Rock State Park. Site manager Tom Levy said, “The plan is for the debris to be chipped and recycled” as soon as possible.


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