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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 8-3-08

August 03, 2008 at 01:26 AM


Number of whooping cranes in the eastern migratory flock.

Muskie production up

A change in diet appears to have helped muskie production this year at Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery near Manito according to manager Steve Krueger.

From about 170,000 fry, the hatchery raised 53,000 5-inch fingerlings — 20,000 of which went to Shelbyville. The rest are now close to 8 inches long and are being raised in ponds at the hatchery, where they are fed a diet of almost 2,000 pounds of minnows per week.

Once fingerlings reach 10 inches they will be stocked in Illinois lakes in late August or early September.

Birding bits

Shorebird migration is well underway as Kevin Richmond of Morton recently reported 26 black-necked stilts and various other sandpipers at the Emiquon Preserve. The Spring Lake Bottoms is another good site to see shorebirds.

Newest PHA

While budget times are very bad for the Department of Natural Resources, the agency recently closed on a $1.5-million, 377-acre land acquisition in Logan County.

DNR worked in conjunction with Pheasants Forever to acquire the Finfrock parcel, which will become a pheasant habitat area and will serve as a hub in PF’s habitat wheel model.

PF Director of Conservation Aaron Kuehl said the Finfrock family sold to DNR for less than it was offered by another party.

Badgers among us

Most readers express surprise when they spot a badger. Biologists once shared that sentiment. But studies have found badgers all over Illinois, though they are most common in the northern half of the state — particularly in sand prairies of northwest and central Illinois.

Badgers are most active at night, but can be seen during the day occasionally — as the Klein family (Joe and Julie and sons Anthony and Brendon) of Sheffield can attest. While driving home from a Little League game earlier this summer, they spotted a young badger walking across Illinois Highway 92 just west of Walnut.

Kudos corner

Camp Big Sky has received a grant from the DNR’s wildlife preservation fund to purchase educational materials at the 102-acre site in Fulton County. The camp offers fishing and camping opportunities for disabled adults and children.

Wild on the Web

Applications for permits to hunt ducks and geese at Banner Marsh, Spring Lake Bottoms, Snakeden Hollow and other Illinois waterfowl areas are now available online. Click here for duck applications. Click here for goose applications.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in August ...

  • Young skunks are on the move.
  • Cicadas call.
  • Deer fawns lose spots.
  • Bucks rub velvet off antlers.
  • Purple martins, sora rail, osprey, shorebirds migrate.
  • Wild grapes ripen.
  • Robins moult feathers.
  • Fall forbs bloom in prairies.
  • Shorebirds, blue-winged teal return from northern breeding grounds

This ‘n that

... Send me an e-mail if you are interested in two free Jim Beam decanters with a Ducks Unlimited theme.
... Due to uncertainty about funding, Rice Lake does not plan to draw down its water levels to promote moist-soil plant growth. While that will hurt teal hunting, it will help make sure there’s adequate water available for the regular duck season.



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