Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at
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

June 30: Picture of the Day

June 30, 2010 at 09:03 PM

This to me is the prince of the prairie. It’s the best native wildflower out there. Gray-headed coneflower. In bloom now through the fall at prairies near you.

My own little prairie is full of these elegant flowers. Overrun, actually. But that’s OK. I don’t mind being overrun with beauty.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

June 29: Picture of the Day

June 29, 2010 at 04:23 PM

We went to Lake Le Aqua Na State Park hoping to see fawns. Instead we found raspberries, ripe for the picking and right along the trails.

Victor and cousin Bradley both filled their hands as often as they wanted.

“Our hands look like we’re bleeding,” Bradley said before stuffing another handful of berries into his mouth.

While I’ve heard reports of berries being past peak in central Illinois, folks in northern Illinois should still be able to fill ice-cream pails based on what we saw today.

This picture was taken June 29 but was not posted until June 30 due to the rigorous demands of vacation.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

June 28: Picture of the Day

June 28, 2010 at 04:21 PM

After a long, activity-filled day at the Lena KOA, the setting sun peeking through some trees reminded me I needed a picture.

Click. Click. Now back to the bags and beverages.

As with the last picture, this was taken June 28, but not posted until June 30.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

June 27: Picture of the Day

June 27, 2010 at 04:08 PM

On the way to a mini-vacation in northern Illinois, we passed this pair of sandhill cranes in a wetland restoration project along Illinois Route 84 between Cordova and Albany.

The sign said the project had been done by Waterfowl USA’s Mississippi Flyway chapter.

From a distance, it looks like this Mississippi River backwater slough was well-engineered. Moist-soil plants were abundant and the presence of two sandhills is a good sign.

I enjoy seeing these big birds, so we had to stop for a picture (a long way off, obviously) even though the kids were eager to get north and see their cousins.

Incidentally, I didn’t post this picture until June 30. But I assure you, it was taken on June 27. I just needed a break from the computer for a few days.



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Wild Things 6-27-10

June 27, 2010 at 02:49 AM


Months an adult female ornate box turtle hibernated from 2008-09.

Duck stamps on sale

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service duck stamps are now on sale for $15. The 2010-2011 federal stamp features a widgeon painted by Robert Bealle of Maryland.

Since 1934 sales of federal ducks stamps have generated more than $750 million that has been used to help purchase or lease more than 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat.

Did you know

Chiggers are mites, not insects and adult chiggers do not bite?

Rice Lake group

Plans for a Friends of Rice Lake group are moving forward quickly. That’s good, since there’s not much time to get organized before the July 25 duck-blind drawings.

Next up is a public meeting on July 6 at noon at Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville.

At this point, tentative plans call for raffling off a gun or guns, decoys and a mallard drake decoy carved by Butch Louck of Germantown Hills. Funds raised would bankroll needed capital acquisitions for Rice Lake and possibly for Banner Marsh. Money could also be used to run a youth waterfowl hunt.

“I welcome this. We need to have these groups in every state park and fish and wildlife area,” Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller said. “We should have been forming these five or six years ago.”

New record?

Washington angler Pat Crumrine’s state-record 10.24-ounce pumpkinseed may not stand for long. Word is there’s a challenger out of JoDaviess County. Stay tuned. Crumrine caught his fish Sept. 15 at the Emiquon Preserve.

Hall of Fame nominees

The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame will accept nominations for the 2011 class of inductees until Sept. 17.

Those selected for their contributions to resource protection and outdoor recreation will be honored March 26 at the Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. For information visit or call (217) 557-6797.

This ‘n that

Duck blind drawings at Illinois River public sites are July 25. ... Interested in seeing orca whales up close? Havana native Dr. Randall Eaton will lead four, six-day Orca Project outings in Puget Sound starting July 3, 10, 17 and 24. Visit or call (513) 244-2826.


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