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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 9-6-09

September 06, 2009 at 05:10 AM


Counties that will offer unlimited hunting permits for the late-winter deer season: Adams, Brown, Cass, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Menard, Pike, Putnam and Schuyler.

Sassafras record?

Harold Ayers of Peoria Heights knows trees. And he knows the sassafras tree he measured in Fulton County recently is a big one. The tree has a 135-inch circumference, bigger than either of the trees currently registered as state records. Next step is to have a certified inspector measure the tree for possible entry in the Illinois Big Tree Register.

Even so, the Fulton County tree is well off the world record in Owensboro, Ky. That tree is 21 feet around and has a great story. As the tale goes, the tree was threatened by a planned highway widening project in 1957. When bulldozers arrived, landowner Grace Rash held them off with her shotgun until a call to the governor resulted in construction of a retaining wall to save the tree.

Did you know?

There are an estimated 475 million doves in the U.S. and hunters shoot about 22.7 million each year.

Shooting for charity

Sporting clays shooters are a charitable bunch. A recent shoot in Hamilton raised $12,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The event nearly made a hero out of Dick Hohulin of Morton, who shot a personal best 98 out of 100 targets but could only watch as another of the 55 participants was a perfect 100 for 100.

The most successful local charity shoot remains the Lyle Finch Memorial Classic held in Bloomington and at Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Club near Mackinaw. Last year’s event raised $125,000 for Easter Seals. This year’s Peoria shoot is Oct. 1 at Oak Ridge.

Boat winner

Plymouth resident Dawn Garlick was drawn randomly out of 46,000 entries to win a $24,000 boat from Garlick says her son serving in the Army in Afghanistan has tried to talk her out of the boat. Where will the Garlicks go first? “Probably Argyle Lake.”

ICF plowing ahead

The economic downturn has been tough on non-profit groups and the Illinois Conservation Foundation is not immune. Executive director Greg Legan resigned in June and the group is without a director. But Ron Allen, who runs the ICF’s events, is still planning several gatherings.

First is the Gary Watson Celebrity Quail and Pheasant Hunt Nov. 8-10 at Rend Lake Resort. The event was renamed in honor of Watson, a long-time DNR worker who died this year. Then comes the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet March 13 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. Nomination deadline is Sept. 18. Visit or call (217) 785-2003.

Next year the ICF has plans for a perch fishing event in Chicago and possibly a celebrity deer hunt.

Public waterfowl permits

Applications are being accepted online (click here) for duck hunting permits at Banner Marsh, the Rice Lake walk-in areas, Duck Ranch and Spring Lake Bottoms and for goose permits at Snakeden Hollow and Double T.

Random drawings run through Sept. 14. Starting Sept. 29, non-residents or anyone who did not receive a permit can call (217) 524-6514 (8:30
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) to request a permit. Call for a second permit starting Oct. 8.

This ‘n that

Hunters at the Mackinaw River state area shot 145 doves on opening day, not 45 as reported, and the dove per hunter average was 2.64.
... Powerton Lake closes to fishing Sept. 21-23 for levee repair and will reopen Sept. 24 at 6 a.m.
... There are 18 permits left for a pheasant hunt for youngsters age 10-15 on Oct. 31 at Mackinaw River. Visit before midnight on Sunday to apply.
... Reputable reports have surfaced in the past week of a cougar spotted in a field three miles east of Havana. 
... Victoria Tackle Shop is for sale again and, barring a sale, will be closing for the season on Oct. 1.


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