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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North Dakota doesn't have a resident gray wolf population, but the eastern half of the state falls within the boundaries of what's known as the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment, which includes gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Fringe states that partially fall within the boundary are North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and far northern Illinois.
When Jeremy Woinarowicz joined the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a conservation officer in 2004, most of the wolf depredation complaints he handled came from farmers in the eastern edge of his work area near Grygla, Skime and Fourtown, Minn. That gradually has changed over time, and complaints have expanded from forested, more traditional wolf habitat to open farm country to the south and west, said Woinarowicz, of Warren, Minn.
Love them or hate them, few animals evoke stronger emotions than the gray wolf. Iconic without question, a symbol of wild places and revered by people who want them protected at all costs. But also a top-level predator, scorned by ag producers when wolves raid their livestock and despised by the hunters who believe wolves kill too many deer. There's no middle ground on wolves, it seems.
At first glance, Jake Cosley says he wasn't quite sure what he was seeing Wednesday afternoon while snowmobiling on the Red River south of Pembina, N.D. It looked like a dead deer, but something else seemed to be going on, too, he said.
WALHALLA, N.D. — Jim Brown had seen the two bucks on his trail camera near Walhalla, N.D., earlier in the fall, but then they stopped showing up. That all changed one day in December when Brown, a Walhalla contractor, checked the card on his Cuddyback trail camera. What he saw only can be described as a spectacle of nature: One buck entangled with the rack of another buck whose body is severed from its head. The antlers and severed head hang from the rack of the living buck.
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.