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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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.
Hunter Dosch knows he's fortunate to only have 10 stitches in his right index finger and some cuts on his arms and a gash on one knee. It could have been worse. ... "I had a muzzleloader blow up in my hands," Dosch said, offering a short and sweet explanation of what happened. "Too much gunpowder. I'm about 100 percent sure of that."
By the numbers, at least, ruffed grouse hunters in Minnesota should be in for one of their best seasons in years. Spring drumming counts in the heart of Minnesota's grouse range in the north were up 57 percent from last year and appear to be moving toward the peak in their 10-year cycle of boom-and-bust.
The past two weeks have been a blur as a combination of work and vacation took me everywhere from the Northwest Angle to the Twin Cities. On the work front, I was up at the Northwest Angle on Monday, Aug. 21, to report on an event celebrating the launch of a new border crossing system in this remote part of Minnesota that marks the northernmost point of the continental U.S.
WALKER, Minn.—The northwest wind was howling; screaming, in fact. On that point there could be no dispute. When you fish big water such as Leech Lake, though, you make the best of what Mother Nature throws you, and that was Toby Kvalevog's mindset on this August afternoon muskie excursion.
It was a beautiful late-summer evening, and we were grilling up some venison brats and sitting down to enjoy a cookout on the deck washed down with a couple of cold Samuel Adams Octoberfests. The arrival of Sam's Octoberfest is an anticipated event on the calendar because it's yet another sign that fall—the most anticipated time of year for many outdoors-lovers—is just around the corner.
NORTHWEST ANGLE, Minn. — The solar eclipse was the big attraction Monday, Aug. 21 across most of the country, but here at the northernmost point of the Lower 48, where the eclipse was obscured by clouds, people gathered for a different reason. With the waters and islands of Lake of the Woods as a backdrop, about 60 people attended a ceremony Monday afternoon outside Young's Bay Resort to mark the launch of a new border-crossing pilot project that aims to streamline the process for checking back into the U.S. from Canada in this remote part of Minnesota.