Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Wild Things 6-1-08

June 01, 2008 at 03:40 PM

566

Number of citations written by Illinois conservation police officers over Memorial Day weekend.

Jubilee prairie planted

Visitors to Jubilee College State Park won’t have to wonder any longer why there is corn or stunted soybeans growing near day-use areas .

About 19 acres in the park was planted to native prairie plants this spring in place of fields that for the past few years had generated income via row crops.

But for at least this year you’ll have to bear with a messy prairie. While the plantings will look weedy, visitors can eventually look forward to a taste of tallgrass prairie that once dominated Illinois.

Range day ahead

Midwest Gun Collectors Association has a range day on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its range on Washburn Road just off Illinois Route 26.

The public is welcome to come visit with representatives from Springfield Armory, Armalite, Wolf Hollow Archery and the Illini Muzzle Loaders. Some guns and bows will be available for test shooting.

Call (309) 645-8949 or 248-7068.

Of blooms and bees

A cool wet spring has been kind to black locust trees, which put on quite a show with abundant white blooms in the past week. Yet the flowering display was sobering for some.

Despite blooms from locusts and other trees, Lee Hammond of Elmwood has seen very few bees this spring and worries his blueberry yield will be limited. “I’m getting berries, but I’m guessing they will be small,” Hammond said.

But not everyone is lacking bees. Beekeeper Janet Hart of Kickapoo said she has picked up swarms this spring in East Peoria, Peoria, Kickapoo and Dunlap.

“A few people around did lose hives through the winter, but we came through pretty well,” said Hart, who has about 20 hives. “And we’ve been picking up some swarms, so they’re out there.”

Carp shooting underway

While Peoria-area carp snaggers have been sidelined all spring, bowfishing for Asian carp has already started in earnest.

“The jump is on,” said Tim Wells of Canton, who has been targeting shallows of the Illinois River and feeder creeks with some success. Wells is even planning an aerial carp bowfishing league this summer So far silver carp are averaging 5 pounds more than last year at this time.

Birding bits

So far this spring Herb Unkrich of Edwards has 61 bluebird nests with at least one egg, 252 total eggs (include two with rare white eggs), 172 that hatched and 116 fledgling bluebirds. Raccoons got babies in one box, buffalo gnats took another.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in June ...

  • White-tailed deer and bats are born.
  • Wild turkey hatch peaks.
  • Pheasant and quail incubate eggs.
  • Channel catfish spawn peaks.
  • Adult Canada geese molt feathers.
  • Red fox pups leave their den.
  • American goldfinches nest.
  • American toads transform from tadpoles to adults.
  • Young raccoons forage with their mothers.
  • Box turtles and blue racers lay eggs.

This ‘n that

Fishing and hunting gear from the late Vern Blumenshine of Bartonville will be auctioned during a benefit Saturday at Mother’s in Glasford starting at noon. Food and drink will be served. Call (309) 966-2069. ... Woodchuck hunting and trapping season opens at sunrise today. ... Helen Gasdorf said Fulton County birders spotted 126 species for the annual spring count.

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