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A Duluth, Minn., man I know was returning from the Twin Cities recently when he came upon a car pulled off to the side of Interstate 35. The Duluth man figured he ought to pull over and see if he could offer any assistance. What he discovered was that the other driver had hit a deer — a big eight-point buck. The crash had occurred during the peak of the whitetail mating season — and the driver's car had been damaged beyond driveability. The driver didn't have a working cell phone, so the Duluth man called law enforcement for him.
Ultimately, Duluth's Gail Francis couldn't think of any good reasons not to hike across America. The year was 2012. She had a good job as an analyst working on climate-change issues. She had done some other long-distance backpacking, including one seven-week stint on the Appalachian Trail. At 39, she was thinking of walking the Pacific Crest Trail, which traverses blistering desert country and high mountain peaks as it winds from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through California, Oregon and Washington.
DULUTH — With the Minnesota firearms deer season approaching, Forum News Service asked Craig Engwall, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, for comments on several matters that affect deer hunters. MDHA represents about 20,000 of Minnesota's estimated 500,000 deer hunters. Engwall lives and does his deer hunting near Dora Lake, north and west of Grand Rapids. FNS: How do you think most deer hunters across northeastern Minnesota are feeling about deer numbers as the firearms deer season approaches?
DULUTH — Three mild winters in a row have put northern Minnesota deer hunters in a mildly optimistic mood about this fall's firearms deer hunt. The mild winters, which followed a string of harsh winters, have allowed the deer herd to begin coming back. "I've had some guys come in with some nice (trail-cam) pictures," said Scott VanValkenburg of Fisherman's Corner in Pike Lake. "Guys are definitely fired up." Minnesota's firearms deer season opens Saturday and continues through Nov. 19.
DULUTH — When a nine-point buck came walking toward Leif Birnbaum's deer stand last Sunday, Oct. 15, the Duluth bowhunter took a good look at him. "He was a nice deer," Birnbaum said, "but I was waiting for something a little bigger." Something bigger — way bigger — showed up about an hour later. Birnbaum shot a 10-point buck that field-dressed at 260 pounds.
ELY, Minn. — The U.S. Forest Service has announced that its lottery system for issuing Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permits for a few highly sought entry points near Ely no longer will be used after the 2018 season. The system will be replaced by the first-come, first-served system now in use at other entry points for the Boundary Waters, said Kris Reichenbach, public affairs officer for Superior National Forest.
This is not how opening day of grouse season is supposed to be. It isn't supposed to be dark and dreary, still dripping from overnight rain. It is supposed to be dry and crisp on this mid-September Saturday, with pale sunlight filtering through maple leaves. But the yellow dog doesn't know any of that. This is her first grouse opener, and for all she knows this is the way it will always be in the grouse woods.
It's a big challenge — crafting a formal plan to manage Minnesota's diverse deer herd. That's what wildlife officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are doing, with the help of a 20-member Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee that's been meeting almost monthly since last December. The committee is scheduled to meet four more times, finishing its work in December.
DULUTH — Minnesota's bear harvest is down from last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. But some bear guides and hunters are reporting plenty of success. The state's bear season opened Sept. 1. Rob Parrott's longtime bear-hunting friend, Lawrence Taylor, came up from Austin, Texas, to hunt again this fall. That makes 14 years. Parrott lives in Saginaw.
You can feel the change coming over the land. It's subtle, but all the signs are there. The dog has a little more spunk in her gait on the cool of a late-August morning. It's almost as if she knows what lies ahead. Dogs require no calendars.