Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — There was good news last week with the announcement that the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association will continue its Hides for Habitat program this fall. The popular program was in jeopardy after recent news that China was imposing a 25 percent tariff on all imported hides and no longer would allow deer hides to be tanned in the country. The news came too late for tanneries to create new facilities in other countries such as Vietnam.
Fishing guide, outdoors communicator, product promoter and developer, and stage and TV host for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour are just a few of the titles on Chip Leer's resume. He soon will add member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame to the list. Leer, 56, of Walker, Minn., learned in mid-September that he is among the 2019 inductees into the Hayward, Wis.-based Hall of Fame. A fixture in fishing circles across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, the Minneapolis native recently talked about his career and upcoming Hall of Fame induction.
FORT FRANCES, Ont.—Spend enough time outdoors, and you're going to get bit by bad weather eventually; it's pretty much unavoidable. Such was the case this past week, when I joined two others on a three-day fishing trip to northwestern Ontario. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give the weather a 3 and only because I'm feeling generous. The conditions we endured came as no surprise. The weather forecast in the days leading up to our trip called for clouds, wind, rain and perhaps even snow. The only thing missing was sun.
ON LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ont. — It's just a bucket of rust now, a monument to an era when people tried to forge a living from this rugged part of Lake of the Woods, but the 1936 Dodge with suicide doors must have been quite the car back in the day. As he's done many times over the years, Joe Laurin stops at the small island in the Tug Channel on this perfect late-summer Saturday to show off the car for a visitor who's come to do some exploring.
The Poweshiek skipperling is a bland-colored butterfly that likely didn't create much of a stir when it was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species in 2014. But in the big picture, the listing of any native species — whether a high-profile animal or an obscure pollinator such as the Poweshiek skipperling — is cause for concern, officials say.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — After last year, Ted Dick could be excused for being gun shy about making predictions on ruffed grouse hunting this fall in Minnesota. The season for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 15. Forest game bird coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., Dick last year offered a rosy outlook on hunting prospects after spring drumming counts soared to a statewide average of 2.1 drums per stop, a 57 percent increase from the spring of 2016.
GRAND FORKS — Several years ago, a friend and I crossed the border at Rainy River, Ont., for a few days of lake trout fishing and received pamphlets warning us of extreme fire danger and the burning restrictions that were in place for the province. We'd barely crossed the border, it seemed, when the skies opened up, and the rain started to fall. We spent at least one day inside the camper that was our temporary residence listening to torrential rain pounding the roof. Fishing in rain is one thing, but that was more than we cared to handle.
Following up on rumors goes with the territory in the news business. They might turn out to be much ado about nothing, but then again. ... Such was the case earlier this week, when I received an email from a reader in Devils Lake, N.D. Word was, the reader said, that four boats from Iowa were caught fishing Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge—which is closed to summer fishing—and had 63 walleyes over their limit.
BELTRAMI ISLAND STATE FOREST, Minn.—Rumbling down a road less traveled called the Bernard's Orchard Trail in a Polaris Ranger with just enough air conditioning to make the August heat bearable, Myles Hogenson talked about the work that went into making this 2-mile stretch of designated ATV route passable. Starting in the summer of 2017 and continuing after freeze-up, area contractors installed half a dozen culverts and put down some 200 yards of rock and gravel fill atop textile underlayment to stabilize the road grade.
Gary Johnson was teaching math and business in 1968 in his hometown of Humboldt, Minn., when the school superintendent asked if he could help teach firearms safety. Fifty years later, Johnson still teaches firearms safety—and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Teaching the course has been a good fit, he says. "I've been in a family that hunts ever since I was born," Johnson, 79, said Thursday. "I love the outdoors. I've been raised on a farm so it just kind of comes naturally." Plus, he said, "I still can outwalk most of my family" during deer season.