Jeff Lampe’s Wild Things outdoors column.
By the Numbers: 49
Acres purchased by The Trust for Public Land near Chillicothe
Duck Food in Danger
What had been a promising stand of duck food in the Illinois River Valley is in serious jeopardy thanks to the recent monsoon season. The river was expected to crest Tuesday at 22.5 feet in Peoria and at 19 feet at Havana. Any additional rain will push those levels higher.
Even without more rain, the rising river will wipe out row crops and moist-soil plants at most public areas and at many private clubs.
"It went from wonderful conditions to a lot of water," said Bill Douglass, site manager at Rice Lake. "We're going to lose it all and so is almost everybody in the river valley."
River Bluff Purchases
The Trust for Public Land acquired the Neighborhood House Campground near Chillicothe and will hold the 49-acre property until 2008 for the Chillicothe Park District.
TPL is also raising funds to purchase 28 acres adjacent to Singing Woods Nature Preserve that will include an interpretive center. The Peoria Park District has put $600,000 toward that purchase, and Chicago-based TPL plans to raise $700,000.
Q: "I've been told that a law has been signed that allows senior citizens to hunt deer with a crossbow. Can you confirm this? If so, how do I go about applying for a permit?"
- Tom Berlett, Washington
A: Yes, it is now legal for anyone 62 and older to hunt during archery deer season with a crossbow. Best of all, you do not need to apply for a permit. You qualify to hunt with a crossbow strictly by virtue of your age.
Ammo Prices Soaring
Ammunition prices are expected to continue increasing this fall because of the rising price of commodities such as copper, brass, nickel, steel and lead. The war in Iraq has also pushed up prices for some rounds, such as .223 caliber and .308 cartridges.
Remington vice president John Dwyer predicts a 12 percent increase on all ammunition for Jan. 1, 2008. That follows an 8 percent increase in June and a 10 to 15 percent rise in October.
"I've got a great story about a fox squirrel drinking water. A number of years ago my wife and I were fishing at the Natural History Survey study lake at Fox Ridge State Park. We came around a point and saw a fox squirrel walk down the trunk of a tree that had fallen into the water.
"When the squirrel got to the water it started lapping, causing little rings to form. After a few seconds, a tiny bluegill or sunfish must have decided the squirrel's tongue looked edible and latched on.
"With the little fish flapping in its face, the squirrel started backing up the trunk excitedly. After a few feet, the fish finally let go and the squirrel dashed into the woods."
- Jay Meeker
Ed Dean of East Peoria cleaned up at last weekend's 81st Illinois State Skeet Shoot. Dean broke 398 targets to win high overall and broke 495 for high all-around. Also, Peoria Skeet and Trap Club member Chris Phelps was recently inducted to the Illinois Skeet Shooting Association Hall of Fame.
The fall migration is already panning out to be a good one for Illinois birders, as this week brought sightings of fulvous whistling ducks near Quincy and a swallow-tailed kite near Virden. Both birds are infrequent visitors.
More frequent and more commonly seen have been migrating nighthawks, shorebirds and warblers that are passing through in good numbers.
Peoria Journal Star