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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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.
So I went blueberry picking last weekend—and enjoyed it. The bucket of blueberries now in my freezer definitely made the few hours I spent in the woods worth the effort. Wild blueberries are smaller than the store-bought version, but taste-wise, there's no comparison; wild blueberries are that much better. Plus, I've found, there's a satisfaction that comes from leaving the woods with a full bucket of blueberries that's difficult to describe.
ST. PAUL — Efforts to build and maintain relationships with deer hunters and the general public, reducing chronic wasting disease in wild deer and tracking performance are key components of a new comprehensive statewide deer management plan the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday, July 25.
BAUDETTE, Minn. — Anglers again this past winter spent nearly 2 million hours ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, results from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' winter creel survey show. According to Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Baudette, anglers logged 1.94 million hours of ice time on the big lake last winter, keeping about 257,000 pounds of walleyes and 279,000 pounds of saugers.