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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GARRISON, Minn. — Two orphaned bear cubs rescued from a cornfield Sunday, March 15, in Marshall County will spend the next year or so at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Garrison, Minn., after their mother was hit by a combine harvesting corn over the weekend near Strandquist, Minn. The rehabilitator, “Wild and Free,” aims to ensure “that every animal has the chance to return back to freedom in the wild,” if possible, the nonprofit’s website states.
It’s been a depressing week. From the coronavirus pandemic to plummeting financial markets and all of the other fallout that’s occurred, it’s been a rough few days. And the turbulence looks as if it’s going to be hanging around for awhile. Ugh. Amid the fear and uncertainty, outdoors activities might seem frivolous, but I don’t subscribe to that view. I prefer to believe the outdoors can provide a source of comfort for those who make the effort to experience what it has to offer.
There’s still time for a setback, but winter appears to be on the downward track. That’s good news for wildlife in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, where deer especially appear to be coming through the winter of 2019-20 in decent shape, wildlife managers say.
MANITOBA, Canada — About a day and a half into his recent trip to Lake Winnipeg, Chad Maloy says he could have summed up the fishing in two words: “This blows.” “We’d been fishing two days, and no one’s caught a good one,” Maloy said, referring to the big “greenback” walleyes for which Lake Winnipeg is renowned. “The best one we’ve caught is like 20-21 inches.” But as happens sometimes when fishing trips are at their lowpoint, famine turned to feast on Saturday, Feb. 29, when Maloy got a message from a buddy also on the big lake telling him to move shallower.
LAKE BRONSON, Minn. – Steve Porter says his deer farm is under attack, and he’s fighting to maintain a livelihood his three sons – Dillan, 25; Brody, 18; and Nolan, 15 – would like to continue on this quarter-section of mostly woods and swampland in Kittson County. He got into the deer business in 1992 as a way to make the land, which he says isn’t suitable for agriculture, financially viable. “You can’t make money on 160 acres and 30 cows,” Porter, 53, said. “This quarter of land wouldn’t be productive with sheep that all have foot rot because it’s too wet.
Bighorn sheep hunters in North Dakota had 100% success, moose hunters had 87% success, and elk hunters had 62% success last fall, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said Monday in reporting results from the state’s “big three” hunting seasons. Game and Fish issued four bighorn sheep licenses and a fifth by auction, and all five hunters shot a bighorn ram. Game and Fish issued 475 moose licenses, and 449 hunters shot 389 moose — 154 bulls and 235 cows or calves. The department issued 487 elk tags, and 449 hunters shot 279 elk — 155 bulls and 124 cows or calves.
WASKISH, Minn. -- Jonny Petrowske admits he was worried. That’s to be expected when you’re a minnow trapper, and about 65% of your annual income depends on catching spottail shiners on Upper Red Lake in the month to six weeks from mid-May through early June when the minnows are available and in demand. Especially when the gear you use to generate that income is in jeopardy.
WARROAD, Minn. -- The sight of Lake of the Woods as we snowmobiled out the mouth of the Warroad River and steered our sleds north into a stiff northwest wind definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart. A blizzard it wasn’t, but the sea of white was unsettling just the same, in the way 30 mph northwest winds always are on Lake of the Woods. A well-marked and well-maintained snowmobile trail would keep us on course, but the 45-mile expanse of white that separated us from our destination at Oak Island on Minnesota’s Northwest Angle would take longer than usual to cross.
NEWFOLDEN, Minn. — The way collections always do, it started with just one. For DeVere Chapman, 75; his son, Shane, 48; and Shane’s son, Nick, 19, of Newfolden, that collection is vintage snowmobiles. Polaris snowmobiles, mainly, but also a handful of long-gone brands, including a 1966 Larson Eagle and a 1969 Homelite Forester. Both were built on Polaris chassis made in Roseau, Minn., but marketed under different brands with different hood designs.
GRAND FORKS -- A UND Fisheries and Wildlife Biology student has received a $5,000 grant through the Main Street GF Challenge to learn more about deer populations in the Grand Forks Greenway and how to keep those numbers in check within city limits. Gunnar Patz will work with Jay Boulanger, a UND assistant professor of wildlife ecology and human dimensions, and Greenway coordinator Kim Greendahl to develop the research project, which is in its early stages.