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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, 2-10-08

February 10, 2008 at 05:43 AM

Inches of snow through Feb. 7 in Antioch, most in Illinois.

Fishing, boating show
The annual Central Illinois Boating & Fishing Show comes to the East Peoria Event Center Friday through next Sunday. Show hours are Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and next Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boating is the main emphasis of this show, but fishing speakers on Saturday and next Sunday include Dan Vinovich (trolling for muskie and Mississippi River walleye), Steve Welch (crappie, multi-species fishing), Terry Brown (fishing attitude) and Al Mittelsteadt (river catfish).

Eagles everywhere
The other day, Bruce Walcott of Mackinaw reported two bald eagles on the Mackinaw River at Illinois Route 9. “So they’re here, even close to Mackinaw,” Walcott said, a bit increduously.

Actually, that’s not surprising. Bald eagles are everywhere this time of year. Along the Spoon River. Along Kickapoo Creek. At Powerton Lake. At Spring Lake. One morning I even saw an eagle perched over Illinois Route 8 near the Peoria County landfill.

No question, the best place to see eagles in winter is along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. But if you keep your eyes open, you might just find a bald surprise closer to home.

Monarch numbers down
Numbers of monarch butterflies at 12 known colonies in Mexico are down slightly. Butterflies this year cover 4.61 hectares of trees. That’s down from last year’s count of 6.67 hectares and is well below the 1996-97 total of 20.97 hectares.

Snowmobile safety urged
While snowmobilers have enjoyed this winter, Illinois has already recorded 27 accidents and eight fatalities. That’s above last year’s accident total of 19 and fatality total of three.

As a result, the state reminds snowmobilers to avoid alcohol while riding, to ride with friends and to know the terrain they are riding. Also, a minimum of 4 inches of snow is required to use state sites and youngsters 16 and under must pass a snowmobile safety education course to operate a snowmobile alone.

Plant a rain garden
Schools and public organizations can earn $500 grants to plant rain gardens of native plants thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Visit for an application, which must be postmarked by this Friday.

Rabbit status quo
Bud Courtway of Sparland won’t like this, but the Department of Natural Resources has no plan to lengthen rabbit season. Courtway requested more days to hunt bunnies, reasoning, “With deer hunters taking up so much ground, the first chance to hunt a lot of places is at the end of bow season. But then rabbit season is almost over.”

Upland biologist John Cole said there’s not enough habitat to support such a change.

“The season is probably two or three times longer now than it was when we used to kill 5 million rabbits,” Cole said. “The overriding issue is habitat. Adding more days to the season won’t help that.”

Top 10 boat names
Drum roll please, here are the BoatU.S. top 10 most popular boat names for 2007: 1. Black Pearl, 2. Liberty, 3. Second Wind, 4. Amazing Grace, 5. Aquaholic, 6. Knot on Call, 7. Second Chance, 8. Wanderlust, 9. The Dog House, 10. Carpe Diem or Seas the Day.

This ‘n that
Peoria Bassmasters accepts members (boaters and non-boaters) today at Goodfellas in Pekin at 6:30 p.m. Visit


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