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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 4-19-09

April 19, 2009 at 03:50 AM


Species of frogs and toads in Illinois, each of which has its own unique song or call.

Turkey television

Though he has never hunted, Brian Combs is tempted to pick up a gun sometimes as producer of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Turkey Call show on the Outdoors Channel.

The Creve Coeur native said a wild turkey’s unpredictable nature can make life hard when shooting video. “Turkeys are pretty frustrating. It’s making me want to shoot one,” said Combs, who has been editing and filming the show for two years.

Combs came home to visit relatives this week after fiming Illinois shows in Mount Vernon and Plainville.

Gun sales booming

Sales of firearms and ammunition continue to surge in the United States. Background checks on firearm sales were up 29.2 percent in March, the fifth time in five months sales have increased by 20 percent or more since President Obama was elected.

Ammunition is also flying off the shelves so fast dealers can’t meet demand. “If I had 10 pallets of 9 millimeter ammo it would be gone in a week. And I normally don’t sell one pallet in a year,” said Tim Presley at Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville.

Birding bits

Asian carp are just the latest in a long line of invasive species dominating Illinois. During last February’s Great Backyard Bird Count, house sparrows (released in New York in 1851) and European starlings (released in 1890) were the most common tree birds reported in Illinois. Learn more at

Camping winners

Winners in our recent Coghlan’s camping giveaway were Greg and Mary Marcussen of Bartonville, Brent Dean of East Peoria and Gene Vaughan of Elmwood. We’ll run reader replies for the next few weeks, starting with this advice from Dean:

“The best equipment to take camping is your fishing gear. If you can’t do a little fishing while you are camping then it’s not worth going. There’s nothing better than spending all day at the lake and then going back to your campsite to sit around a fire.”

State seeking CPOs

Want to become a conservation police officer? Illinois is seeking CPO applicants and hopes to receive funding to hire new officers later this spring. CPO testing will be April 27-30 and May 4-7. Learn more at or call (217) 785-8407.

Outdoors answers

Q: “I have been reading many articles pertaining to fish limits as far as my husband and I fishing in the same boat. Just to clarify, is it true our fish must be separated? I actually read where a couple was fined $100.”
— Sandi Cooper, Bellevue

A: That couple must not have been fishing in Illinois, because there is no such rule in this state according to Conservation Police Sgt. Jim Dever. Multiple anglers can share the same livewell or bucket, so long as they do not exceed cumulative creel limits.
“It’s not like waterfowl where everyone must maintain separate bag limits,” Dever said.

Want to teach fishing?

The DNR needs an instructor to run Peoria’s Urban Fishing Program at Glen Oak Park Lagoon this summer The job requires four years of college and typically pays $15 per hour. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (217) 782-1274.

This ‘n that

Through the first four days of turkey season, North Zone hunters had shot 1,728 bearded birds compared to 2,057 last year. Opening day harvest was down 40 percent. After two seasons the South Zone is at 2,693 birds compared to 2,581 last year.


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