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 8-30-09

August 30, 2009 at 06:18 AM

7.4

Blue-winged teal in millions counted on the breeding grounds of the northern U.S. and Canada, the second highest total ever counted.

Early goose advice

Though he makes a living selling goose calls, Jeff Foiles has simple advice for hunters heading into the early goose season, which opens Tuesday in Illinois.

Don’t overcall. Hide your blinds well. And don’t use motion decoys. “I’m all against this motion stuff,” Foiles said.

Hunting should be good in central Illinois, as banding surveys showed 2.32 goslings per adult — 14 percent above the five-year average.
Northeast Illinois had 2.11 goslings per adult (up 52 percent) while southern Illinois was at a dismal 0.62.

“SIU has some evidence that the forage value of the grass is so poor in southern Illinois by the time the geese hatch that the young don’t survive,” Illinois waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla said.

That’s one reason the early season bag limit is only two honkers in the South Zone. And while the five-bird limit allowed in September in the rest of Illinois is liberal, some states allow hunters to shoot even more birds. The early limit in New Jersey is 15. No doubt that explains why Foiles has a trip to New Jersey on his agenda.

Did you know?

Ducks Unlimited has 32,375 members in Illinois who last year helped raise more than $1.9 million for the conservation organization.

Record still pending

“Chef” Todd Kent is not a fishing record holder yet. Tissue from the eyes, liver and muscles of a likely state-record pumpkinseed have been submitted to the University of Illinois for genetic testing.

Kent caught his 7¾-inch pumpkinseed on July 21 at the Emiquon Preserve in Fulton County. If the 0.41-pounder is determined to be a pure pumpkinseed and not a hybrid, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries department said the colorful fish will be certified as a state record.

So far no angler has entered a valid longear sunfish for consideration as a state record. A fish entered by Aaron Pierce from Woodford County this summer turned out to be a hybrid.

You speak

“The IDNR believes that bowfishing for sportfish should not be allowed.”
— DNR director Marc Miller, responding to a debate over allowing bowfishing for bass or other native Illinois fish gamefish

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in September ...
Ducks, songbirds, monarch butterflies and bats migrate south.
Muskrats build lodges.
Rabbit breeding finally ceases.
Snakes enter winter dormancy.
Tree and barn swallows stage in large flocks.
Persimmons and hazelnuts ripen.
Acorns start to fall.
Puffballs and other fall mushrooms start to appear.
Aster and goldenrod blooms.

This ‘n that

Teal season opens Saturday in Illinois and small flocks of blue-winged teal have started arriving this week along the Illinois River valley. ... Jake Bresson of Paw Paw was selected in a random drawing to receive a prize package of fishing gear for venturing a guess at the weight of the bass caught by Mike Gilmore at Banner Marsh. ... Southern Illinois nature photographer Gretchen Steele has started contributing a Web log to PrairieStateOutdoors.com. ... Top entries from the 2009 Junior Duck Stamp contest will be displayed at Dickson Mounds Museum Sept. 22 through Oct. 12. ... Biologist Kevin Oller reports that nuisance deer complaints are up sharply in his area. Hmmm. Maybe standing corn last fall did hide some deer from hunters.

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