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. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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If you hunt big game in Minnesota or have a fascination with record-book deer, moose, elk or bear, this book's for you. Minnesota Official Measurers, a club dedicated to measuring and scoring record big game animals in the state, in 2014 purchased the "Minnesota Deer Classic Record Book," which for years had compiled the database of the state's top big game animals.
GRAND FORKS—Andy Schoneich isn't a duck hunter, but he loves wildlife and does the occasional woodcarving when he gets the time. Developing a passion for the old wooden decoys that duck hunters used before the days of molded plastic was a natural progression. "There's a large number of collectors of the old wooden hunting decoys," Schoneich said. "Some of these decoys have exceeded $1 million and sit in some pretty prestigious collections."
ROSEAU, Minn. — Jan Johnson knew the bear was in the area, and he knew it was big. He was right; it was. Johnson, of rural Roseau, toughed out a gloomy, rainy afternoon of bear hunting Oct. 1 and came home with a black bear that unofficially weighed 721 pounds live weight. Bears are scored by skull size rather than body weight, but Johnson's bear definitely is one of the heaviest bears to be taken in Minnesota in quite some time. Photos of the bear have been making the rounds in texts, emails and social media.
FOURTOWN, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a land exchange that would allow ATVs to travel a short length of trail in Beltrami Island State Forest that currently is federally owned and off-limits to the vehicles. Opening up the .7-mile length of trail, which is bordered on both ends by DNR land, to motorized use would provide a connection between northern parts of the forest and areas farther south near Fourtown.
GRAND FORKS—Be careful out there, motorists in Grand Forks County. Critters are on the move, and you never know what's going to run across the road. The latest unusual collision of wildlife and wheels occurred about 6:30 a.m. Friday, when a motorist hit and killed a bear on Grand Forks County Road 33, about halfway between Manvel and Gilby, near the intersection of County Road 3, authorities say.
Lake of the Woods
September is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month, and while September days are numbered, the importance of being safe in a tree stand doesn't end Sept. 30. If anything, tree stand safety becomes even more important as deer gun and muzzleloader seasons approach. Every fall, it seems, hunters make news for all the wrong reasons after falling out of tree stands in accidents that could have been prevented.
WILLIAMS, Minn.—Curt Quesnell barely has a chance to get his boat up on plane before he reaches one of his favorite Lake of the Woods fishing spots on a crisp Monday morning in late September. So much for the adage that fishing always is better on the other side of the lake. For Quesnell, this side of Lake of the Woods near Long Point has been just fine, thank you very much. It's been that way for the past month, he says.
Barring a drastic change in weather patterns, dry conditions will play into hunting strategies this fall for duck and goose hunters, especially those who prefer hunting over water. The regular duck and goose seasons open Saturday, Sept. 23 in North Dakota and Minnesota. The first week of North Dakota's season is open to residents only; nonresidents can hunt beginning Sept. 30.
Several miles of an extensive, multi-use trail system being developed in Beltrami Island State Forest will be available to grouse hunters and others this fall, but additional trail work is on hold until the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources completes a required Environmental Assessment Worksheet. The EAW is required for any new trail longer than 10 miles on DNR lands, said Charlie Tucker, assistant manager of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area at Norris Camp south of Roosevelt, Minn.