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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 5-3-09

May 03, 2009 at 05:20 AM


Weight in pounds of the largest wild turkey ever reported to the National Wild Turkey Federation, a Rio Grande shot in Oregon in 2002.

Big gobblers

Hunters are still bagging big wild turkeys even after more three weeks of hunting in the North Zone. But so far, the two largest birds bagged by locals were shot out of state.

Jerry Nicholson of Bartonville shot a 27.8-pound Rio Grande gobbler in Kansas that will become that state’s archery record.

And last week, Brian DeJaynes of Abingdon shot a 27.4-pound Missouri mammoth that had three beards: 11, 6, and 4 inches.

Neither bird is close to the Illinois record, a 33.25-pounder shot May 8, 1985 by Craig Jessen near Putnam.

Bluebird update

Despite cold weather, bluebirds are busy nesting. Bluebird Herb Unkrich of Edwards has 54 nests underway with 212 eggs and 20 nestlings.

While sparrows are always a problem, Unkrich is also worried about buffalo gnats. He suggests coating the opening of nest boxes with pure vanilla to keep the gnats from pestering nestlings.

Deer details

Look for word this week on proposed changes to Illinois deer hunting seasons. The plan is expected to include a four-day, post-Christmas antlerless-only hunt in addition to the three-day late-winter hunt in January.

Mega mushroom

At first Zach Williams wasn’t sure what he’d found. Only after looking at pictures on the Internet did he realize the 7.5-pound, volleyball-sized red mushroom he found off Farmington Road was a red morel.

“They say one in four people die from eating them,” said Williams, who decided not to tempt fate.

Undeserved riches

Though he served only 21 days as director of the Department of Natural Resources, Kurt Granberg is still going to pick up a $40,000 boost to his pension.

The Illinois Pension Review Board voted 3-2 to increase the pension for the long-time legislator who was appointed to the DNR just prior to Rod Blagojevich’s dismissal as governor. As a result, Granberg gets a $111,716 annual payout — a $40,000 increase over a simple legislative pension.

You speak

“There are some people getting carried away with catch-and-release on some bodies of water. This results in slot limits to harvest the smaller bass. Many anglers need to see past the bass being pets and realize it is OK to harvest some of these fish.”
— Marc Rogers, St. Louis

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in April ...
Beaver, skunks and bobcats born.
Geese hatch.
Salamanders take adult shape.
Many Illinois fish spawn.
Warblers and shorebirds migrate north.

This ‘n that

Current DNR director Marc Miller’s appointment has not yet been confirmed. “I’m not concerned,” Miller said, noting legislators have been busy with other matters. ... Larry Dozard has best-times fishing calendars available. Visit


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