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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Not that many years ago, it was relatively common practice for anglers fishing sturgeon on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River to hoist big fish up by the gill plates and hold them vertically for photos. However well intentioned those anglers might have been, chances are many sturgeon died after being handled that way, even if the fish were released. Fish aren't made to be held out of the water vertically, especially large fish, because the weight of their bodies tears the connective tissue holding their internal organs in place.
To get an event in the Outdoors calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148 or by email at email@example.com . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Events Park vehicle passes are required for all events at North Dakota and Minnesota state parks. Vehicle passes are $7 daily and $35 annually in both states. • April 24: Informational meeting on DNR draft of new 10-year deer plan, 6 to 8 p.m., Thief River Falls Area Wildlife Office, 246 125th Ave. NE.
Larry Gadaire was paddling his homemade cedar strip canoe on Lake Renwick near Cavalier, N.D., one day about 25 years ago when he saw someone cruising the lake in a kayak. A cabinet maker by trade, Gadaire did what cabinet makers by trade do when when they see something they'd like build. He built a kayak. And he's been building them ever since. "The worst thing about cedar strip is you never finish sanding," Gadaire said. "So, I started with these, and I've been modifying and changing things" along the way.
The Fertile Sand Hills Nature Center near Fertile, Minn., is hosting a hike to view pasque flowers or enjoy shorter interpretive options near the Nature Center from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday as part of Earth Day festivities. Pasque flowers now are blooming in the Fertile Sand Hills, and a variety of fun, hands-on activities will be held throughout the afternoon at the Nature Center.
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.
A northwest Minnesota legislator who had the opportunity to trap a gray wolf during the three years the state offered a season said the ongoing wolf debate highlights the split between urban and rural Minnesota. Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, said he doesn’t hide the fact he trapped the wolf, the pelt of which hangs in his St. Paul office.
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.
To get an event in the Outdoors calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Events • Saturday: Earth Day Park Clean-up, 10 a.m. to noon, Turtle River State Park, 3084 Park Ave., Arvilla, N.D. Park vehicle passes required. Info: (701) 594-4445.
Bighorn sheep numbers decline Bighorn sheep populations in North Dakota are down 11 percent from 2016 and 9 percent below the five-year average, the state Game and Fish Department said in reporting results from its 2017 bighorn sheep survey. Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer and then recount lambs the following March, as they approach 1 year of age, to determine recruitment. That's why the most recent numbers are attributed to 2017 and not 2018.