Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. 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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A column idea popped into my head the other day that inspired me to see if I could come up with an alphabetical list of outdoorsy items, issues and events from A to Z that stand to be relevant this year. It took some doing, but here's my list. A: Is for April, a month that marks the unofficial beginning of spring and can't get here soon enough for many of us. A also is for asparagus, as in wild asparagus, as good of a vegetable as there is.
So you want to go winter camping but don't want to sleep in a tent, burrow into the snow or make a quinzhee snow shelter? Fear not, there are options out there that are considerably easier, not to mention a whole lot warmer. In North Dakota, the state Parks and Recreation Department offers winter opportunities at a trio of state parks. Cross Ranch State Park near Center, N.D., has two log cabins and two primitive yurts available year round, and Lake Metigoshe State Park near Bottineau, N.D., has one primitive cabin and one yurt available year-round.
ON LAKE WINNIPEG, Man.—We'd stopped to scan the horizon and consider our options for setting up to fish when the snowmobile I was driving flooded and wouldn't start again. Rather than fight with the snowmobile, we decided to cut our losses and set up the portable house. The snowmobile had decided for us: This is where we would fish. Turns out the snowmobile made an excellent choice. Two friends and I spent New Year's Day on Lake Winnipeg and had an absolute blast catching greenback walleyes. What a great way to start the New Year.
BISMARCK — The new year is just getting started, but North Dakota wildlife officials already are concerned about the potential impact of heavy snow on deer and other critters. "We're close to being on pace with the winters of 1996-97 and 2008-09, and when you mention those two years, I just cringe because they were bad for wildlife," said Terry Steinwand, director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck.
GRAND FORKS — A bill to establish a trespass law in North Dakota stands to be among the more prominent pieces of outdoors legislation on tap when lawmakers convene Tuesday, Jan. 3. In Minnesota, chronic wasting disease, elk and Department of Natural Resources funding all stand to be on the legislative agenda. Minnesota's 2017 legislative session also gets underway Tuesday. Here's a look at existing or potential outdoors legislation in the two states. North Dakota
Last year at this time, I wrote a column outlining a series of outdoors goals I hoped to achieve in 2016. I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, which in my opinion are doomed to failure 9 times out of 10, but the goals I set out to achieve in 2016 involved having a good time in the process, so I decided to give it a shot.
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota's first confirmed wolverine since the mid-1800s made news in 2016, and elk research projects were underway on both sides of the Red River. Deer hunters in northwest Minnesota reported better success than the previous year, while more than 51,000 hunters found themselves on the sidelines for North Dakota's deer gun season, despite a slight increase in the number of available tags. Those were just a few of the happenings that made news in the outdoors world during the year just past in Minnesota and North Dakota. Here's a closer look:.
BAUDETTE, Minn.—The thought of ice fishing on a morning when the air temperature is 26 below zero might seem like insanity to the uninitiated, but this wouldn't be a day spent outside sitting on a bucket. Besides, as people up here in Lake of the Woods country like to joke, it's a dry cold.
Brent Getzler admits he was hoping for a big walleye Monday when he felt the weight of a heavy fish at the end of the line north of Pine Island on Lake of the Woods. "It had a little fight," Getzler, 33, of Roosevelt, Minn., said. "I was hoping it wasn't an eelpout—I can say that—but after a little bit, I figured it had to be an eelpout." Getzler figured correctly, but little did he know the big-bellied specimen would break the state record for the heaviest eelpout ever weighed in Minnesota. It's all but official.
Anyone who's ever fished Lake Winnipeg through the ice knows how challenging and intimidating it can be for the do-it-yourself angler, especially novices to the big lake. Few lakes within easy driving distance off a better shot at a trophy walleye than Lake Winnipeg—the walleyes are called "greenbacks" for their iridescent bluish-green color—but amenities are limited. There are a handful of access points to reach the lake by snowmobile or ATV, but anyone who travels in a vehicle should expect to be pushing and shoveling at least once during the day.