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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HILLSBORO, N.D. — Details are sketchy at this point, but the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed a hunter legally shot and killed a mountain lion Tuesday, Dec. 19, northwest of Hillsboro. Mike Sedlacek, district game warden for Game and Fish in Fargo, said he took the call from the hunter who shot the lion and reported it within 12 hours as required. The hunter has said he wants to remain anonymous.
Officials from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department got an earful this week in Grand Forks from hunters frustrated with not being able to draw a deer gun tag in recent years. Some hunters said they've now gone more than five years without drawing a gun season tag. About 65 people, mostly middle-age-and-older men, filled the Red River Archers' indoor range Tuesday night for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's District 4 fall Advisory Board meeting. Game and Fish is mandated to hold the meetings twice a year in each of the state's eight Advisory Board districts.
GRAND FORKS—Raccoons displaying odd behavior symptomatic of distemper have been reported by homeowners near Larimore, N.D., and while nothing has been confirmed, the reports are a good reminder for people to make sure their dogs and other pets are vaccinated, experts say. Distemper—or canine distemper, as it's officially known—is a viral-borne illness similar to rabies.
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.
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.
Deer hunters across most of northwest Minnesota will have more opportunities this fall, the Department of Natural Resources said this week in announcing its deer season regulations. In the far northwest corner of the state, the DNR has designated most deer permit areas as "managed," allowing hunters to use any combination of licenses to shoot as many as two deer, only one of which can be a buck. The only deer permit areas in the far northwest not designated as managed are 260, 203 and 208, where hunter choice regulations and a one-deer limit of either sex is in effect.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grassland conservation in Grand Forks County is getting a boost from a $121,220 Outdoor Heritage Fund grant awarded to Audubon Dakota through the state Industrial Commission. Coupled with matching funds and in-kind labor from Audubon and other partners, including the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, the total grant package is $450,000.
WASHINGTON—Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is among a bipartisan group of senators to reintroduce the Sportsmen's Act, which aims to promote hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation. Heitkamp, who is vice-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, introduced the Sportsmen's Act of 2017 along with other caucus leaders. Heitkamp and others introduced similar legislation in 2015.
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 6, 2017. EDINBURG, N.D.—An animal shot illegally west of Edinburg in Walsh County in northeast North Dakota has been confirmed as a gray wolf, and charges are pending, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says. Paul Freeman, northeast district warden supervisor for Game and Fish in Devils Lake, said he received a call Feb. 19 from a witness who'd seen an animal shot along Walsh County Road 9. Freeman responded to the site and put down the wounded animal.
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.