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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When your daily commute takes you along state Highway 11 from International Falls to Baudette, Minn., you're bound to experience some memorable wildlife encounters. Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Baudette, was reminded of that Tuesday morning on the drive to work.
Audubon Dakota has received a $530,000 grant from North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund to expand an initiative focusing on urban habitat restoration to Bismarck, Minot and eventually Grand Forks. Known as the Urban Woods and Prairies Initiative, the program was established in 2014 by an OHF grant to restore urban habitat in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Audubon Dakota said in a news release.
For the first time in five years, a North Dakota angler has caught a confirmed zander in Spiritwood Lake, where the Game and Fish Department stocked the European walleye cousins in 1989. Kyle Heim of Bismarck was fishing Spiritwood Lake near Jamestown, N.D., on June 6 when he caught the zander on a Lindy rig tipped with a leech in about 11 feet of water. The fish measured 27 inches and weighed 7 pounds, Heim said.
Garrett Eickman, 13, Grand Forks, released these 29-inch (left) and 27-inch walleyes on Devils Lake. He caught the 27-inch walleye June 18 and the 29-inch walleye May 26.
It has become a popular attraction in recent years, and the annual banding of peregrine falcon chicks is set for 1 p.m. Monday below the UND water tower adjacent to Starcher Hall, 10 Cornell St. There appears to be only a single peregrine chick this year, said Tim Driscoll, local raptor expert and licensed bander. During Monday's event, a climber will scale the water tower and carry the chick to the ground for Driscoll and Erika Kolbow of Turtle River State Park to band. The chick, which is about 20 days old, give or take, then will be returned to the nest box.
One of the many great things about summer in the Northland -- and certainly among the most colorful -- is the emergence of the showy lady’s slipper, Minnesota’s state flower. Also known by some as pink lady slippers -- for obvious reasons -- showy lady slippers are beginning to bloom, and by the looks of it, this is going to be another good summer for the wild orchids.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 71st annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 2.8 million birds, down 5 percent from last year. Even though the index is below 3 million for the second consecutive year, it still stands 16 percent above the long-term average (1948-2017) and is the 25th highest on record, said Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird supervisor for Game and Fish in Bismarck.
For the first time since last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program. Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018. For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers and wetland restoration.
Nancy Black released this 27-inch walleye on Lake of the Woods.
Paul Sum of Grand Forks released this 27.5-inch walleye on Lake of the Woods. Click on the image to see the complete photo.