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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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Wild Things 9-13-09

September 13, 2009 at 05:42 AM

Go west archers

More and more bowhunters are finding it hard to wait for the October start to Illinois’ archery deer season. So they head west to take advantage of elk and mule deer hunting in the mountain states.

Some come back with wild stories, such as the one told by Jared Schlipf (above), co-owner of Lone Wolf Tree Stands. While Schlipf shot an impressive 10-point buck in velvet, the tale he told first was about watching a mountain lion from a tree stand.

“If I had a (mountain lion) tag I could have shot him,” Schlipf said. “I watched him sharpen his claws on a log and then walk off. It was cool.”

CPO total

Over the Labor Day weekend, conservation police officers arrested 14 people for operating under the influence on Illinois waters and busted another 13 for driving under the influence in and around state parks.

The state heralds this as a good thing. I’m not so sure. Between gas rationing, understaffing and added duties like this, I worry CPOs no longer have time to oversee the critters they are supposed to protect.

Aren’t state troopers supposed to be the ones who clamp down on intoxicated drivers?

In better days

Mike Gregonis has an unusual distinction. He holds the title as the last squirrel biologist in Illinois. That Gregonis left his position in 1995 to take a conservation job in Connecticut was a precursor of the state’s policy of leaving biologists jobs unfilled.

In the case of Gregonis, the writing was probably on the wall. In addition to overseeing squirrels, he managed ruffed grouse — a species seldom if ever seen in Illinois these days.

“I’m probably one of the few people who heard ruffed grouse drumming in Union County in southern Illinois and in JoDaviess County in northern Illinois,” said Gregonis, who returned for a week of dove hunting, including several days in central Illinois with retired biologist Norm Emerick.

These days Gregonis keeps tabs on Connecticut’s critters, including moose, sea ducks, deer, turkeys and enough Canada geese to warrant a 15-bird limit during the early season.

Goose bag limit

Talk of 15-goose bag limits has some hunters wondering whether Illinois might increase the liberal five-bird limit during the early season. The answer is no. Five is the maximum number of birds allowed per day in the Mississippi Flyway.
What’s more, the Flyway is in the second year of a five-year experiment to see the impact of goose hunting without setting quotas in each state. Early Canada goose season ends at sunset on Tuesday.


Percent of the Illinois goose harvest made up by resident giant Canada geese that are from Illinois.

River sweep ahead

Anyone who wants to help keep the Illinois River clean has an opportunity this Saturday during the annual Illinois River Sweep from 9 a.m. to noon at sites from Lemont to Grafton. Volunteers are needed to pick up garbage along the river and participants get a free t-shirt and work gloves.

Registration in Peoria is at Forest Park Nature Center at 8:30 a.m. Call John Mullen at (309) 686-3360. In Bartonville call Tom Rowen at (309) 447-6350. Click here for information on events elsewhere.


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