Illinois Outdoors at
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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 4-6-08

April 06, 2008 at 04:26 PM


Number of bird species spotted on March 30 by Mike Baum and Jim Mountjoy in Knox, Peoria, Tazewell, Mason and Fulton counties.

New CRP signup

West-central Illinois landowners may be eligible to enroll in a new State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement program designed to create 1,500 acres of pheasant habitat.

To be eligible for this Conservation Reserve Program, also known as CP 38, land must contain at least 50 percent historically prairie soil types. Realistically, that type of fertile ground could be tough to enroll with corn fetching $6 per bushel.

“The base that will probably take advantage of this are not as much farmers as wildlife enthusiasts,” said Kim Smail, NRCS district conservationist in Fulton County. “I’m promoting this for odd areas where people are tired of trying to get to or for people who are buying land for hunting clubs.”

There is a continuous sign-up for the program until all acres are allocated. Payments may reach $175 per acre depending on soil types.

Land eligible includes those portions of Fulton, Knox, Peoria, Henry, Stark and Warren counties in the Spoon River watershed. Also eligible is land in Knox, Henry, Henderson, Warren and Mercer counties that does not drain into the Lamoine, Spoon or Rock rivers.

Call your local NRCS district conservationist for information.

Tip of the week

Want to help North America’s five billion migrating birds? Here are tips from the Audubon Society: 1. Turn off lights at night as much as possible, since artificial light disorients birds; 2. keep cats indoors, since they kill an estimated 1 billion birds per year; 3. stop using pesticides; 4. keep feeders stocked and clean and place them within 3 feet of windows or at least 30 feet away to reduce collisions.

Did you know?

Sales of hunting gear and firearms increased 4.1 percent in 2006 to $3.7 billion and moved ahead of sales of golf equipment according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Sales of exercise equipment topped the list at $5.22 billion. Fishing gear ranked fifth at $2.22 billion in sales.

Whooping crane news

As of last Thursday, at least 27 of the 74 whooping cranes in the eastern flock had returned to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.

None of the birds that spent last fall in Peoria County have yet arrived in the county according to landowner Bill Neff, on whose property the birds spent time. On a sad note, one of those whoopers died during the spring migration after colliding with a power line. The other five birds had last been seen west of Indianapolis.

Dog training group

Owners of pointing dogs seeking to improve pooch’s performance should consider joining the Spoon River chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association. NAVHDA’s purpose is to improve versatile hunting dogs — dogs that can point game, retrieve on land and water and track wounded game.

The Spoon River chapter has training days on the second Saturday of each month starting this Saturday at Gobbler’s Knob near Canton. A sanctioned test is scheduled for May 2-4.
Visit or call (309) 698-1138.

This ‘n that

  • Pheasants Forever will hold its national Pheasant Fest in Madison, Wisc. Feb. 6-8, 2009.
  • Larry Dozard of East Peoria and has a talk next Sunday at St. Mary’s Church during the father-son breakfast at 9 a.m.
  • Fulton County’s 2008 plat books are on sale for $28 at the University of Illinois Extension Office in Lewistown, (309) 547-3711.

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