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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The photo popped up as a memory on Facebook the other day, and it reminded me how much I take for granted when it comes to the simple act of just getting outside on a nice day. I suspect I'm no different than anyone else. The day had been one of those perfect late January affairs, sunny but not oppressively cold, and I was taking the scenic route home after spending the weekend fishing with a Canadian friend on Lake Winnipeg.
NDGF conducts aerial deer surveys The North Dakota Game and Fish Department was able to conduct aerial deer surveys across much of the state this winter for the first time in three years, a department biologist said. According to Bill Jensen, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the department flew surveys on about 25 of 32 hunting units across the state. Warm weather that arrived in mid-January put the aerial survey on hold, Jensen said. Snow is crucial to spotting the deer from the air.
A lot has changed since the first Great Backyard Bird Count was held in 1998. Each year brings more participants to this now-global event. The 20th annual count begins Friday, Feb. 17 and continues through Monday, Feb. 20 in backyards, parks, nature centers and anywhere else you find birds. As part of the event, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org. All of the results contribute to a snapshot of bird distribution, helping scientists see changes over the past 20 years.
To get an event in the 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 • Feb. 17-19: National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, Minneapolis Convention Center. Info: pheasantsforever.org.
Q. I am from central Illinois and am coming up the last week in March to fish the Rainy River. I've never fished the river and will be looking for walleyes. Any suggestions on where to launch?
Looking out my urban backyard, even in the middle of a bone chilling North Dakota morning, it's always a treat to see a few squirrels, redpolls, chickadees and other backyard birds scrounging around for a little midwinter food. I'm fortunate my kids love watchable wildlife even more than I do. Over the years, I've shown them the necessary components for winter wildlife habitat and food—such as leaving the corn and sunflowers in the garden.
Lake of the Woods
Those who visit Hayes Lake, Lake Bronson and Zippel Bay state parks to cross-country ski this year may not realize it, but the trails at these parks are now being groomed entirely by volunteers, thanks to a partnership between Minnesota state parks and trails and the nonprofit Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota. The council has been working with the Friends groups at each park to recruit volunteers. All three parks are showcasing their trails with candlelight ski events in February. Hayes Lake held a candlelight ski event on Saturday.
Jessica Cossette of Detroit Lakes, Minn., released this 27-inch walleye Feb. 4 on Devils Lake. The fish was her "PB" -- personal best.
Tony Fladeland of Grand Forks shot this mule deer buck (left) and muzzleloader whitetail after drawing both mule deer rifle and muzzleloader resident tags. According to Fladeland, the mule deer buck scored 177 inches. “Spot and stalk at sunrise with .270 Ruger at 223 yards,” Fladeland writes. The 5x5 whitetail scores 153 inches, and Fladeland rattled it in to 53 yards from his ground blind while hunting with a CVA .50 caliber with open sights near Mountain, N.D.