Illinois Outdoors at
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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 5-31-09

May 31, 2009 at 01:16 AM

Perdew prices strong

While decoy prices appear to have been impacted by the country’s economic woes, blocks made by famed carver Charles Perdew posted strong prices last month in St. Charles.

Guyette and Schmidt, Inc. grossed $2.1 million at its annual spring decoy auction at Pheasant Run Resort. The company is co-owned by Chillicothe native Frank Schmidt. Prices were below estimate the first day but climbed closer to mid-estimate on the second day.

Top prices were paid for Perdew decoys, including $18,400 for the miniature sleeping pintail hen pictured above. That was four times above the pre-sale estimate. A pair of Perdew’s miniature carved wood ducks also sold over estimate for $5,463.


Citations issued over Memorial Day weekend by Illinois conservation police officers.

Free fishing ahead

Anglers can fish for free in Illinois from Friday through June 8. Free fishing will also be offered Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fulton County Camping & Recreation Area near St. David.

Youngsters 15 and under are also invited to a kids fishing derby at the Fulton County site from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bait and food will be provided. Call (309) 668-2931.

Rascally raccoon

Earlier this spring Dave Scifres found a wild turkey nest in Tazewell County while mushroom hunting. In an effort to document the hatch, he set up a trail camera nearby.

That didn’t go very well. Scifres got 32 pictures — two of deer, the other 30 of raccoons. And one 60-second video shows a hungry raccoon eating a turkey egg.

Toluca trap shooters

The Toluca Sportsman’s Club is hoping to start an AIM trap-shooting team for young shooters from elementary school through age 23.

The team will be coached by an instructor who is certified by the Amateur Trapshooting Association.

Anyone interested in joining the team or looking for information can e-mail Jim Clanin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (815) 228-9695.

Range open house

The Midwest Gun Collectors’ Association will hold its popular open-range event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its facility on Washburn Road on the Woodford/Marshall county line just off of Illinois Route 26 between Spring Bay and Lacon.

Last year more than 1,000 people attended the event, that will feature products from Remington, Springfield Armory, ArmaLite, Wolf Hollow Archery, Presley’s Outdoors and the Illini Muzzle Loaders. For information call Kevin Monk at (309) 443-5339.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in June ...
Most deer and bats born.
Wild turkey hatch peaks.
Pheasants incubate chicks.
Bobwhite quail calling peaks.
Goldfinches start to nest.
Toads transform from tadpoles to adults.
Box turtles and blue racers lay eggs.

This ‘n that

Saturday marks the 17th annual celebration of National Trails Day in the U.S. ... A total of 25,000 non-resident archery deer combination permits go on sale Monday for $400 at or by calling 1-888-673-7648. ... For the third straight year Illinois had no boating-related fatalities over Memorial Day weekend.

Story and comments

NWTF supports DNR budget

May 28, 2009 at 08:15 AM

As the budget talks in Springfield near an end, some conservation groups are rallying behind Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget proposals for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

A cynic might point out that of course conservation groups are rallying behind the budget, since more money for the DNR will likely mean more money for them.

But I think there are some good points made in the following letter from Kent Adams, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s regional biologist for Illinois. Specifically this one:

At first glance, the proposed 25 percent cut from last year’s general revenue fund budget may look reasonable during hard economic times. However, such a reduction must be viewed in the context of the last six years in which the DNR experienced more than its fair share of cuts compared to other state agencies. The proposed cuts would leave the DNR at half their general revenue funding level of 2001.

Here’s the full text of the letter.

NWTF letter supporting DNR budget

Dear NWTF Members:

As the current legislative session comes to a close, Illinois sportsmen and women must once again make their voices heard in Springfield. Legislators need to hear from you that cutting the proposed budget for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would spell disaster for an already ailing agency.

At first glance, the proposed 25 percent cut from last year’s general revenue fund budget may look reasonable during hard economic times. However, such a reduction must be viewed in the context of the last six years in which the DNR experienced more than its fair share of cuts compared to other state agencies. The proposed cuts would leave the DNR at half their general revenue funding level of 2001.

Further cuts would require even more staff layoffs, program reductions and facility closings. Some of the more alarming losses from a long list of negative impacts include reducing or eliminating hunter education program, complete loss of forestry assistance and state nursery seedling production, state park closings, and reducing the already depleted Conservation Police staff.

Tell legislators that our natural resources already have paid a hefty price to solve the state’s budget problems. Enough is enough.

Beyond general revenue funding, some new user fees and fee increases for certain licenses and permits have been proposed. The new user fees are mostly targeted toward funding the staff and maintenance of state parks and other state sites. These fees will help capture funding from non hunter/angler recreational users. The proposed license and permit fee increases that will affect hunters directly are modest adjustments, considering they have not been raised since the 1970s. Hunters and anglers have a long history of willingly paying the way for conservation, and these increases will help rebuild the agency responsible for managing our state’s natural resources. The new DNR leadership has vowed to protect these funds for their dedicated purpose. First in line is filling the turkey and upland game biologist positions left vacant by retirement.

Tell your legislators you support modest fee increases to fund conservation, and that sweeping these dedicated funds to balance the state budget (as the previous administration was prone to do) is illegal and unacceptable.

Find contact information for your local legislators at the following link.

Kent Adams
NWTF Regional Biologist for Illinois

Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Starved Rock SP always photogenic

May 28, 2009 at 07:40 AM

Kathy Casstevens is the director of marketing for Starved Rock Lodge at Starved Rock State Park and some of her most effective work is done with pictures she takes.

The shot above of Kaskaskia Canyon is from last weekend at Starved Rock and shows one reason the park is such a popular destination.

In fact, the picture makes me want to pack up the kids and spend a few hours in Starved Rock myself. Much as I hate to admit it, sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Or at least 500.

Story and comments
Illinois hunting and fishing

Roger Woodcock’s Spring Slam

May 27, 2009 at 03:45 PM

Retirement has been good to Roger Woodcock, shown above with a 19.5-pound gobbler he shot on April 24. The bird had a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs and was the start of what Woodcock is calling his Spring Slam.

I like the term. And you can bet this is one retiree who has me dreaming about stopping work. After 36 years as chief administrative officer for Farmington, Woodcock retired earlier this spring.

“After I made the announcement, I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what I was going to do with all this time I would have on my hands,” Woodcock said. “Well I figured out a few things to pass the time. Then at a city council meeting, one of the aldermen asked me how the retirement thing was going. I thought I’d share my answer with you. I replied to the councilmen “The turkeys are gobbling, the crappie are biting, the mushrooms are popping and the beer is cold.’ ”

Here are some other pictures of Woodcock’s Spring Slam, which includes a 3-pound bass caught April 29 on 4-pound test line and a 1/8-ounce Roadrunner, a mess of morels found on May 4 and some of the bucket full of crappie he caught on May 5 (15 of the slabs weighed 17 pounds).

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Story and comments

Scary precedent in Louisiana

May 27, 2009 at 02:47 PM

Now here’s a scary precedent being considered in Louisiana.

Let’s hope no Illinois legislators get a similar bill started.

Bill would let lawmakers oversee hunting seasons

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A bid to give lawmakers a say in the dates set each year for Louisiana’s hunting seasons received backing Wednesday from a House panel packed with legislators who had complaints about the commission that sets those seasons.

In a 9-3 vote, the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee approved the bill by Rep. James Armes that would let lawmakers review - and reject - the season dates and restrictions set each year for everything from ducks and deer to quail and turkey.
Armes, D-Leesville, said he didn’t want lawmakers to pick and choose hunting season dates, but said the Legislature should serve as a “check and balance.”

“This bill is just for us to be able to override if we have a problem. That’s all it is,” he said.

Currently, the authority to set seasons rests solely with the seven-member Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, in consultation with the state Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries. Lawmakers can’t stop the regulations and restrictions governing the seasons.

Committee members said the commission, which has appointees of the governor serving staggered terms, doesn’t reflect the interests of hunters around the state and instead skews toward south Louisiana. Only one member of the commission is currently from north Louisiana. No members are from central Louisiana.

Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said the current system works well and keeps the state from political management of the state’s natural resources, noting that staggered terms ensure no single governor appoints the commission.

“There is a difference in the political environment and the regulation of wild creatures ... You don’t want to micromanage the biological assets of the state,” Barham said.

Barham said the commission makes its decisions on hunting season dates, bag limits and other restrictions after consulting with his department’s biologists and wildl ife experts, looking at federal requirements and determining how to best protect the state’s resources. He said if lawmakers reject a set of season dates, the dispute could disrupt hunting plans for hunters around the state.

The secretary said lawmakers already could weigh in on hunting season decisions, but several lawmakers said they didn’t get calls returned or couldn’t get enough information to explain commission decisions to their constituents.

“There is no reason we cannot have an oversight hearing to talk to these biologists, to give that information back to our communities,” said Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine.
“We’re not trying to take anything from your guys, nothing. We just want to be a little more informed.”

Armes’ bill heads next to the full House after several hours of debate in the committee.

Story and comments

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