Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. 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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To get an event in the 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 • April 22: Grand Forks Audubon field trip to view prairie chickens booming in Polk County. Group will leave Grand Forks about 4 a.m. to be in the blind by 5:15 a.m. Limited to 15 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Free and open to the public. Info: Matthew Spoor, email@example.com . Shooting sports
DNR reduces quota bear licenses The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reducing bear hunting opportunities this year in quota areas where hunters last year had a record-high success rate of 50 percent. "The reduction in bear permit numbers for quota areas is to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase," the agency said in a news release. "The 2016 bear season harvest was higher than expected as a result of poor natural food availability for bears last fall."
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continues to make its case for a small increase in hunting and fishing license fees, even though state lawmakers didn't included the request in budget proposals that have passed the House and Senate floors. It promises to be an uphill battle. Gov. Mark Dayton in his budget proposal called for increasing the price of a resident fishing license from $22 to $25 and the price of a resident deer license from $30 to $34.
I'll never forget the first time I fished the Rainy River. The fishing was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. And while I've had the privilege of wetting a line in remote, far north waters of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, I'm not sure any of them surpassed the walleye action we encountered those two days in April 1987. The fish were big, they bit readily and they were abundant. For a couple of guys in a 12-foot boat with a 4-horse Evinrude who had absolutely no idea how to fish the river, the action was nothing short of amazing.
Lake of the Woods Friday is the last day of spring walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River and other Minnesota-Ontario border waters until the May 13 walleye opener. As of early this week, Lake of the Woods was open up to 1 mile outside of Lighthouse and Morris Point gaps, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. Anglers have been catching walleyes of all sizes in a variety of depths by setting up near the edge of the ice pack on the lake, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Anglers need to be aware of moving ice.
National Park Week begins Saturday and continues through April 23, and the annual event offers an opportunity to learn more about these recreational jewels and what they have to offer. Summer is peak season for national parks, but the outdoor opportunities are available year-round.
Michelle McCue of Grand Forks caught this 27-inch walleye April 8 on Devils Lake. The fish was kept.
Zac Bernier of Grand Forks caught this 28-inch walleye on the Rainy River near Baudette, Minn. Bernier released the walleye, which was his biggest to date, after a quick photo.
A story is beginning to emerge on the peregrine falcons that have taken up residence in a nest box atop an elevator on the south side of Crookston. Regional raptor expert Tim Driscoll of Grand Forks said he was able to get the number of the male peregrine's leg band Friday afternoon, and the bird is Jack, a Fargo-hatched peregrine Driscoll banded in 2014. Jack is named after Fargo radio host Jack Sunday, Driscoll said. The female peregrine in the Crookston nest box isn't banded, and her origin is uncertain, but she's at least 2 years old, Driscoll said.
Kids and birds are a perfect match, and nearly 30 kids and their parents got to see and learn about birds Thursday night at East Grand Forks Campbell Library. Each of the kids also received a bird feeder to take home. Thursday's bird program was part of a Family Nature Night series of environmental education events University of Minnesota-Crookston students are presenting at the library. The five-week series began March 23 and wraps up with trees at 6 p.m. April 13 and furs and mammals at 6 p.m. April 20.