Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Scattershooting at porcupines and doves

August 26, 2010 at 11:04 PM

Rambling through the outdoors hoping cold rains fall on Wisconsin and Minnesota soon.

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Why hope for rain? Wet, cold weather up north could chase doves our way prior to Wednesday’s season opener. Otherwise things look fairly grim. We’ll have a complete report Sunday, but most dove-watchers in central Illinois say numbers are well below average. ... Then again, in southern Illinois, prospects look much better. Guide Jason Johns noted a recent influx of grey ghosts around Rend Lake. Similar reports are trickling in from elsewhere down south. ... Speaking of migrants, Matt Winks of El Paso spotted numerous warblers at Bloomington’s Ewing Park on Thursday. Shorebirds have also been squeaking down the Illinois River Valley in big numbers. ... One shorebird hotspot was the Wilder Tract of Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge. But a long-delayed wetland improvement started Monday and displaced many birds. Due to construction, the Wilder Tract is also closed during early Canada goose and teal seasons. Hunting will be allowed in the oxbow lakes and on the south end of Forgotten Road. Work should be done by the regular duck season.

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Did anybody else see a porcupine in Peoria County? Journal Star carrier Josh Rudd, 19, swears he saw a porcupine east of Glasford while running his route a few weeks ago. That would be a bigger shock than a cougar sighting behind the Journal Star. Aside from prehistoric remains, there are no historic records of porcupines in Illinois according to Donald Hoffmeister’s book “Mammals of Illinois.” ... The Department of Natural Resources has a new Website called “Living with White-tailed Deer in Illinois.” Visit web.extension.illinois.edu/deer for a comprehensive look at Prairie State deer. ... Rudd’s porcupine sighting came to mind Tuesday when a shaggy brown critter shambled out of a Peoria County ditch. Well, it turned out to be a goat ... a grumpy goat that hustled into the timber after a few pictures. Visit Scattershooting at prairiestateoutdoors.com to see that goat and four months worth of other Pictures of the Day dating to April 5.

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The arrival of cooler weather always makes me think of my old black lab, Buck. As fall approached he got crazier and crazier until he finally got his mouth around the first duck, goose or pheasant of the year. Maddening as that dog was, I miss him. Duck season just isn’t the same. ... Teal? Anybody seeing teal?... Cooler weather has improved the crappie bite. Fish shallow early and then move deeper as the day wears on. Muskie are also much more active of late. Nick Johnson caught and released a 40-incher this week at McMaster Lake in Snakeden Hollow and reported follows by several larger fish. ... Friends of Rice Lake is hoping to bankroll a goose hunting pit or two for Double T this fall. But we need more members or a few major donations to make that happen. Visit friendsofricelake.org for a membership application.

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Duck, goose and upland game hunters are reminded to go online to apply for permits to hunt state ground. Free upland permit applications (dnr.state.il.us/uplandgame) are due by Tuesday. Wednesday is deadline for the first drawing for waterfowl permits (dnr.state.il.us/duck or /goose). ... Chef Todd will cook venison and beef burgers, shark, smoked pig and grilled bananas today at Hooked on Fishing Park in East Peoria from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Suggested donation is $10. All proceeds benefit the youth fishing park located next to Dixon’s Fisheries.  ... Size apparently matters to female red-eyed tree frogs. Studies detailed in the journal Herpetologica show larger male tree frogs more readily find mates. Large size apparently proves a frog’s ability to survive and outcompete other males. Needless to say, hefty fellows like Chef Todd and I might enjoy coming back as red-eyed tree frogs should we be granted additional lives.

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The National Sporting Goods Association says participation by female hunters has increased by 75 percent in the past five years. The organization estimates 3 million women now hunt and 5 million shoot regularly. ... Duck details: Mark Werner of Pekin was among the first to sign up for Illinois’ new Ducks Unlimited license plates. While the new plates are not yet listed on the Secretary of State’s Website, Werner said anyone interested can send a request to: Secretary of State; 501 S. Second St., Third Floor, Att.: Carla; Springfield, IL 62756. Plates can only be issued after 1,500 requests. ... Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady will pull a few triggers Sunday at Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Club near Mackinaw for a fund-raising sporting clays shoot. Cost is $125. Register from 8-9 a.m. or call (309) 925-5077 or 538-4550. ... Parting shot: Good news for bird hunters in Knox County is just a few weeks away. Stay tuned.

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Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::

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