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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 5-11-08

May 11, 2008 at 06:36 AM


Number of birdwatchers in millions in the U.S. in 2006.

Weak excuse

It’s sad enough the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is in such a dire financial situation that it can’t distribute a sufficient number of deer hunting permit applications. But it’s also hypocritical for DNR to claim, as they did in a recent press release:

“The IDNR deer and turkey programs are going green. To help preserve natural forest habitat, the Illinois deer and turkey programs will no longer be printing large quantities of paper permit applications. Instead, the applications will be available online.”

That’s a bunch of baloney. All the DNR has done with this latest decision is to pass on the cost of printing permits to the 75 percent of hunters who submit paper applications.

And next year word is there will not even be applications mailed out — just reminder cards. 

Catfish correction

Credit for the 76.5-pound flathead catfish mentioned last week belongs to Mark Blough of Rochester. We incorrectly named his friend as having caught the fish last week. Incidentally, Blough released the flathead back into Sangchris Lake after the fish was weighed.

Tip of the week

Today is Mother’s Day, which is significant for several reasons. Obviously, today is a good chance to honor mothers. But this is also traditionally the time when bluegill start biting very well in central Illinois.

As if on cue, bluegill are headed to shore and biting better on waxworms, crickets and redworms.

So after brunch today, take the kids fishing and give mom a break. Better yet, if she wants to fish, take mom and leave the kids with a babysitter.

Just remember, small hooks and small bobbers help catch bluegill.

Did you know?

Free fishing days in Illinois will be June 6-9. Organizations seeking educational or promotional materials for events that weekend should call Gary Watson at (217) 782-9990.

Boat safety reminder

As boating season approaches, boaters are reminded to be safe on the water. Last year 13 people died and 57 were injured in boating-related accidents. Of the fatalities, 10 may have survived if they had been wearing personal flotation devices.

And any youngsters age 12-18 who operate a motorized watercraft by themselves are required to pass a boating safety class. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length. Finally, anyone operating a jet ski regardless of age must wear a life jacket.

Visit to find a list of boat safety classes. The DNR also offers an online class that costs $15.

Wild on the Web

Want to watch live video of a family of bald eagles on a nest at Coffeen Lake in south-central Illinois? Fire up the computer and log on to daily between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. This is one reality show that might be worth watching.

Kudos corner

Thanks to the 330 people who attended the annual Illinois River Valley chapter of Pheasants Forever banquet, the chapter has more than $25,000 for wildlife habitat projects in Peoria and Tazewell counties and for youth education.

This ‘n that

Non-residents archery deer permits will be avilable starting June 1 at or by calling 1-888-673-7648. Combination permits are $400 and non-residents can purchase one of the 25,000 that will be available.


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