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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We could see the ice was safe—at least 6 inches thick—judging by the depth of the tiny fissures that spidered across the crystal-clear surface of the frozen pond. Still, the sound of the ice groaning and popping as we took our first tentative steps, checking with a spud bar every few feet to make sure it was safe, was just as unsettling as I remembered it. The ice was in a talkative mood that afternoon. I've spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on the ice over the years, but I'll never get used to that sound.
PULASKI TOWNSHIP, N.D. — Things are hopping on this crisp November afternoon as members of the Duray and Kasprick hunting clan get together to mark a seasonal rite of work and pleasure. It's sausage-making time, and this 24-by-24-foot heated shop east of Warsaw, N.D. — an area rich in Polish heritage and tradition — is absolutely bustling with activity.
Turkey will take center stage at dinner tables across the country Thursday when Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feasts, but many hunters will be giving thanks for the wild birds, which provide hunting opportunities in both North Dakota and Minnesota. "I used to love elk hunting, and then I got a taste of turkey hunting," said Kristi Coughlon, an information officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji and—you guessed it—an avid turkey hunter.
GRAND FORKS — As a parent with a passion for sharing the outdoors with his kids, Cal Helgeson is frustrated. Given the potential challenges young deer hunters in North Dakota face after drawing their two youth deer hunting tags, he's probably not alone.
This isn't a deer hunting story, as such, but as memorable buck encounters go, it ranks right up there for Paul Edman, Richard Edman and Dan Edman—three brothers who grew up in Warren, Minn., and were attending Bemidji State University at the time. Dan Edman, who teaches construction electricity at Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks and still lives in Warren, reached out to share the story of the day back in the early '70s when he and his two older brothers rescued a buck in distress. Without their help, the deer likely would have perished.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Deer camps are spruced up and ready for another season, friends and family are converging for the annual fall get-together, and the waiting's almost over. Minnesota's 2017 firearms deer season opens a half-hour before sunrise Saturday morning.
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.