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 7-6-08

July 06, 2008 at 04:07 AM


Number of confirmed timber wolves in Illinois since 2002.

Another wolf confirmed

A large canine shot by a coyote hunter near Lena on Feb. 19 has been confirmed as a full-blooded wolf according to Bob Bluett, state furbearer biologist.

The wolf was an 84-pound male that had rabbit fur in its colon. Genetic testing linked it to the western Great Lakes population of wolves.

This is the sixth wolf thought to have visited Illinois since 2001. While two wolves likely passed through Illinois before meeting their end elsewhere, Randy Worker shot the state’s first confirmed wolf in nearly a century in Marshall County in 2002.

Two more wolves were killed in the state in 2005: one by a car near Chain O’Lakes State Park and the other by hunter Seth Hall in Pike County near New Canton.

All four confirmed grey wolves are males thought to have been forced out of their pack as they matured.

An idea to halt mowing

Among the reasons the Illinois Department of Transportation lists to justify roadside mowing are complaints from the public about weeds and tall grass. Here’s an idea, courtesy of Mrs. Lampe, for anyone who actually enjoys seeing waving grasses and flowers in our ditches. Contact DOT to tell them you’d rather save gas money and provide much-needed habitat than see a ditch that looks like a putting green. Call (217) 782-7820 or write: IDOT; 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway; Springfield, IL 62764.

Albino at Clinton Lake

An albino deer has been drawing visitors to the Mascoutin campgrounds at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area south of DeWitt. The albino buck, apparently born in 2007, is making regular morning and evening appearances according to Jim Capel of the Department of Natural Resources. Visit to see Mary Fuller’s photographs of the deer she calls Albi.

Outdoors answers

Q: “My family and I have been noticing a lot of snapping turtles this year, lots more than we usually do. We have talked with several other people who have seen and found them, too. Is there a reason there seem to be so many this year?”
— Jeff Hohulin, Goodfield

A: Local biologists Michelle Simone and Rob Hilsabeck agree our wet spring promoted increased movement by turtles and frogs.

Tip of the week

If you are considering a trout-fishing trip to northeast Iowa, make sure to visit the Turkey River near Elkader or Spring Branch near Manchester. Those rivers received an extra stocking of trout this year when two of Iowa’s rearing facilities were flooded.

The Turkey River may have absorbed an estimated 75,000 catchable trout and 50,000 fingerlings. The unplanned stocking at Spring Branch was closer to 20,000 catchable trout.

Kudos corner

Tazewell County district conservationist Tim Malone was honored by the National Wild Turkey Federation with the 2008 NWTF/NRCS Partnership Award. Malone was cited for restoring wildlife habitat through a variety of federal programs. Recent projects include a 30-acre oak savanna in Mason County and a 230-acre habitat demonstration area designed to educate landowners about USDA conservation cost-share programs.

This ‘n that

Deer hunting applications are available for Evergreen Lake at the visitor’s center 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Or call (309) 726-2022, Ext. 221. Archery applications are due July 31, firearm applications by Aug. 31.  ... Jupiter will be at its brightest Wednesday and will be visible all night directly opposite the sun.


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