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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 7-4-10

July 04, 2010 at 04:54 AM


Estimated breeding population of mallards in North America in millions — down 1 percent from 2009 but 12 percent above the long-term average.

Prairie tour time

Native prairie flowers are blooming across Illinois now through August, making this a prime time to tour prairie remnants or prairie restorations.

Among the best grassland and forb restoration in Peoria County is the Gilles Family Farm northwest of Princeville. Brothers
Ted and Ron Gilles will again offer guided tours of their 700-acre family farm from the comfort of hayracks equipped with padded seats.

Tours will be July 19 and 22 at 6 p.m. and July 20 and 23 at 9 a.m. Reservations are required by calling (309) 671-7040, Ext. 101.

New bait shop

Anglers have another option for gear thanks to retired Marine Jim Kennedy, who recently opened Jim’s Bait and Tackle in Hanna City’s Lakeshore Plaza. The store is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kennedy said he will carry a full line of live bait and some fishing tackle. Call (309) 565-9950.

Duck totals

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the total North American breeding duck population is nearly 40.9 million this spring. That’s down from 42 million last year but is 21 percent above the long-term average.

Most species were similar to last year except for blue-winged teal, whose population of 6.3 million was down 14 percent from 2009. Even that was 36 percent above the long-term average, though.

Since pond numbers are also strong, waterfowlers can plan on a 60-day duck season this fall.

Bass better at night

Numerous bass anglers are reporting that evenings have been better than mornings this past week in terms of a top-water bite for buzzbaits, frogs, poppers and other surface lures.

New road-kill regs

Illinois has new regulations for claiming road-killed deer or for salvaging deer that are wounded or not killed by a vehicle.

Residents who claim road-killed deer must file a report within 24 hours of taking possession by visiting or by calling (217) 782-6431. Non-residents may not claim road-killed deer.

Residents who find deer that are wounded or not killed by a vehicle may not move or take possession of the deer until making a salvage deer report and obtaining permission from a conservation police officer.

Top turkeys

Twenty five years ago this week, Craig Jessen of Hennepin was recognized for having shot the heaviest eastern wild turkey ever killed in the U.S. Hunting turkeys for the first time, Jessen killed his 33.25-pound bird on May 5 in the bottoms along Big
Sandy Creek in Putnam County. But official confirmation didn’t come until the end of June in 1985.

Today Jessen’s bird ranks eighth all-time. Top honors belong to a 35.8-pound bird gobbler shot by Kyle Nook near New Market, Iowa.

Iowa also produced a gobbler that is reportedly the world record bow kill based on a formula that accounts for weight and length of beards and spurs. White Knuckle Productions owner Todd Pringnitz’s bow kill on April 13 had more than 49 inches of beards, weighed 25.9 pounds and had 1.25-inch spurs to score 149.6875.

This ‘n that

Tuesday is the permit application deadline for the first lottery of 2010 fall shotgun turkey hunting tags.



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