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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THIEF RIVER FALLS -- Paul Kasprick took his daughter, Alyssa, hunting for the first time last fall. "She couldn't hit the broad side of a barn," Kasprick, of Thief River Falls, said. Kasprick decided to take his daughter to the Thief River Falls Gun Club, where he's a longtime member, to let her practice at shooting clay targets. Well, she can hit the broad side of a barn now. She's also pretty good at hitting clay targets. "She started out shooting sixes last year and was shooting 21s at the end," Kasprick said, referring to Alyssa's scores in a 25-target round.
Ducks Unlimited's Jim Ringelman talks about challenges facing waterfowl managers after receiving international award for his efforts on behalf of ducks and habitat. Jim Ringelman is director of conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited's Great Plains Regional Office in Bismarck. A California native, Ringelman, 60, earned his master's degree at South Dakota State University and his doctorate at the University of Maine.
Q. After reading about the coyote control problem, has there been any talk of a bounty on coyotes again in North Dakota? When was the last time a bounty was used to control a species? A. Doug Leier, an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department who also writes a weekly column, touched on the history of bounties in the state in one of his previous columns. According to Leier, the Game and Fish Department participated in a bounty system until 1961, when the state Legislature decided to stop using state money to pay bounties.
The stage has been set; now, it's up to Mother Nature to deliver. And the way she's been acting so far this spring, there's little reason to believe she won't come through. If all goes according to plan, four of us who spent Minnesota's 1996 walleye opener ice fishing on Lake of the Woods will repeat the experience this year.
Spring's late arrival is weighing on everyone who enjoys spending time outdoors, but it's even more of a drag for fisheries and wildlife managers. Normally, spring work such as electrofishing surveys, collecting fish eggs for stocking programs and controlled burns to enhance wildlife habitat are in full swing. Not this year. "Instead of lifting nets, I'm doing management plans, getting more of my winter's work done because it's still winter," said Randy Hiltner, northeast district fisheries supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake.
To get an event in the calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572, ext. 1148; or by email at email@example.com . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Meetings • Thursday: Grand Forks Audubon, 7 p.m., publisher's office, second floor, Grand Forks Herald, 375 Second Ave. N. Rolf Paulson will discuss birding and other aspects of Tanzania. Banquets • Friday: Grand Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hunting heritage banquet, 5:30 p.m., Ramada Inn, Grand Forks. Tickets: $50, single; $65, couple.
Researchers continue to monitor bears fitted with GPS collars in northwest Minnesota as part of a study to learn more about the animals in an area that's on the fringe of their range. According to Dave Garshelis, bear research biologist for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., the study is tracking nine bears, including six with satellite collars that provide researchers with real-time data. Two other collars log GPS coordinates, but the information isn't available until researchers retrieve and download the units.
ON DEVILS LAKE -- The two Canada geese looked almost confused as they stood on the ice and watched us drive by on snowmobile. The open water they probably were searching for was buried under a foot of snow and another 30 inches of ice.
N.D. bighorns set lambing record North Dakota's estimated bighorn sheep population is near record levels, thanks to a bumper crop of lambs born last year, the Game and Fish Department said. Results from the annual survey indicate at minimum of 297 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota. Game and Fish said the 2012 count was the second-highest on record and 5 percent more than the previous year's survey. The survey tallied 87 rams, 156 ewes and a record 54 lambs, the department said.
Interested in learning more about how deer made it through the winter? Or, perhaps, you're wondering how fish populations are doing in your favorite fishing hole -- or what's on tap for next fall's hunting seasons. If so, and you hunt and fish in North Dakota, you might want to put one of the Game and Fish Department's advisory board meetings on your calendar. Game and Fish is mandated by law to hold the meetings twice a year in each of the state's eight advisory board districts.