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. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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Minnesota hunters registered 62,702 deer, of which 36,149 were bucks, during the opening weekend of the state’s firearms deer season, according to preliminary reports from the Department of Natural Resources. That’s down about 14.5 percent from last year’s opener, when hunters registered 73,479 deer and 42,286 bucks during the first two days of season, the DNR said.
GRAND FORKS — During last year's North Dakota pheasant opener, Scott Lindgren of Grand Forks and his hunting partners headed west to hunt an area that produced easy, three-bird limits not that many years ago. "Typically, you'd walk in and make one walk, and you'd shoot your three birds," Lindgren said. Different story last year. "We jumped into one of those pieces on opening morning — we shot one and saw four," he said. "It went from hundreds (of pheasants) to a handful."
The Poweshiek skipperling is a bland-colored butterfly that likely didn't create much of a stir when it was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species in 2014. But in the big picture, the listing of any native species — whether a high-profile animal or an obscure pollinator such as the Poweshiek skipperling — is cause for concern, officials say.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — After last year, Ted Dick could be excused for being gun shy about making predictions on ruffed grouse hunting this fall in Minnesota. The season for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 15. Forest game bird coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., Dick last year offered a rosy outlook on hunting prospects after spring drumming counts soared to a statewide average of 2.1 drums per stop, a 57 percent increase from the spring of 2016.
Sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge numbers in North Dakota continue to feel the effects of last year's drought, a state Game and Fish Department biologist says. North Dakota's grouse and partridge seasons open Saturday, Sept. 8.
GREENBUSH, Minn.—A fire that broke out Sunday night in western Roseau County in far northern Minnesota was 90 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, officials say. Known as the "County Road 7 Fire," the wildfire burned about 4,000 acres of mostly grass and swampland habitat north of Roseau County Road 7 about 15 miles northwest of Greenbush, Minn., said Christi Powers, an information officer for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, Minn.
GREENBUSH, Minn. -- Firefighters are working to control a large grass fire that started Sunday night about 15 miles northwest of Greenbush in western Roseau County. Known as the “County Road 7 Fire,” the fire had burned about 5,800 acres of grass and brushland as of Monday afternoon, said Adam Munstenteiger, area forestry supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources in Warroad, Minn.
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.