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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THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.—It took some last-minute wrangling, but the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association's popular Hides for Habitat program will go on this fall as scheduled, officials say. That appeared unlikely earlier this week after a recent decision by China, which has tanned the hides in the past, to no longer allow hides to be tanned in the country.
FORT FRANCES, Ont.—Spend enough time outdoors, and you're going to get bit by bad weather eventually; it's pretty much unavoidable. Such was the case this past week, when I joined two others on a three-day fishing trip to northwestern Ontario. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give the weather a 3 and only because I'm feeling generous. The conditions we endured came as no surprise. The weather forecast in the days leading up to our trip called for clouds, wind, rain and perhaps even snow. The only thing missing was sun.
THOMPSON, N.D.—When Mike Olson placed fourth in the recent Cabela's National Walleye Tour championship on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota, it erased any doubts the fishing fanatic might have had about competing against the top walleye pros in the country.
Bears are nosy critters by nature, and a 150-pound black bear last week found out the hard way what happens when it sticks its nose into a 10-gallon metal cream can. Fortunately, thanks to the MInnesota Department of Natural Resources and Roseau (Minn.) Fire Department, this story has a happy ending.
Following up on rumors goes with the territory in the news business. They might turn out to be much ado about nothing, but then again. ... Such was the case earlier this week, when I received an email from a reader in Devils Lake, N.D. Word was, the reader said, that four boats from Iowa were caught fishing Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge—which is closed to summer fishing—and had 63 walleyes over their limit.
BELTRAMI ISLAND STATE FOREST, Minn.—Rumbling down a road less traveled called the Bernard's Orchard Trail in a Polaris Ranger with just enough air conditioning to make the August heat bearable, Myles Hogenson talked about the work that went into making this 2-mile stretch of designated ATV route passable. Starting in the summer of 2017 and continuing after freeze-up, area contractors installed half a dozen culverts and put down some 200 yards of rock and gravel fill atop textile underlayment to stabilize the road grade.
Gary Johnson was teaching math and business in 1968 in his hometown of Humboldt, Minn., when the school superintendent asked if he could help teach firearms safety. Fifty years later, Johnson still teaches firearms safety—and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Teaching the course has been a good fit, he says. "I've been in a family that hunts ever since I was born," Johnson, 79, said Thursday. "I love the outdoors. I've been raised on a farm so it just kind of comes naturally." Plus, he said, "I still can outwalk most of my family" during deer season.
So I went blueberry picking last weekend—and enjoyed it. The bucket of blueberries now in my freezer definitely made the few hours I spent in the woods worth the effort. Wild blueberries are smaller than the store-bought version, but taste-wise, there's no comparison; wild blueberries are that much better. Plus, I've found, there's a satisfaction that comes from leaving the woods with a full bucket of blueberries that's difficult to describe.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — As a muskie fisherman with a knack for inventing things, developing a muskie lure came naturally for Jeff Sprecher. It appears the Grand Forks inventor and entrepreneur has landed the tackle equivalent of a whopper with his Airheads—bucktail-type fishing lures with double spinner blades and soft plastic heads and tails—and Power Tail replacement components that also can be used on spoons and other lures.
GRAND FORKS—There could be more, but by all indications, only one peregrine falcon chick hatched in the nest box atop the UND water tower, where patriarch Marv and a new female of unknown origin set up shop this spring. "The good news is we have one baby; the bad news is we only have one baby," local raptor expert and licensed bander Tim Driscoll said Thursday.