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 email@example.com . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Events • Saturday: East Grand Forks Rod and Gun Club Fall Youth Shoot, noon to 4 p.m., East Grand Forks Rod and Gun Club, 12923 480th St. NW, East Grand Forks. Events on tap include .22 rifle, trap shooting, traditional blackpowder, tomahawk throwing and other activities with door prizes and drawings. Open to youth ages 6 to 16; all skill levels welcome. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org .
National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 24, and the annual event offers an opportunity to celebrate the conservation efforts of outdoorsmen and women across the U.S. Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972 to recognize hunters, anglers and recreational shooters for their efforts and contributions to conservation in America. As an example, hunters through dues and contributions to conservation groups give an additional $280 million annually for wildlife habitat.
Q. I know ruffed grouse populations follow a fairly predictable 10-year cycle of peaks and valleys. Someone recently told me the down years result because ruffed grouse hens lay fewer eggs during those years. Is that true? A. I also have seen the cycle of ups and downs with ruffed grouse populations and have written about it on occasion, but I've never heard anyone say the trend results from hens laying fewer eggs. Nor have the experts I asked.
The week's biggest news on the outdoors front came Tuesday, when the North Dakota Game and Fish Department released the results of its roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August. The survey, which provides perhaps the best barometer of what pheasant hunters can expect this fall, showed pheasant numbers were down 10 percent statewide from last year. In addition, observers tallied 7 percent fewer broods, and the average brood size was down 8 percent. The results are based on 276 survey runs made along 105 brood routes across the state.
Ted Dick could be excused for being cautious about his optimism going into Saturday's Minnesota ruffed grouse opener after last year's preseason forecast. In hindsight, the grouse biologist's prediction proved to be, perhaps, more upbeat than the reality most hunters encountered. An example occurred during last year's 34th annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt near Grand Rapids, Minn. Hunters found very few young birds in the woods, and the overall harvest was among the lowest in the hunt's history.
North Dakota's grouse season opened Saturday, and hunters can expect to find fewer sharptails this fall, the Game and Fish Department says. Aaron Robinson, upland game management supervisor for Game and Fish in Dickinson, N.D., said July and August roadside counts showed a 23 percent decline in sharptail numbers. Hungarian partridge counts were up 2 percent. "Sharp-tailed grouse hunting will be slower than last season in most of the state, and all indications are that hunters will see significantly lower numbers in the west," Robinson said.
Tom Luney of Grand Forks caught this 25-pound, 37-inch channel catfish Sept. 3 on the Red River near Drayton, N.D., while fishing with catfish guide Brad Durick. The catfish was tagged, and info from the tag return showed it had been tagged July 9, 2015, on the Red River near Lockport, Man.
Lake of the Woods Anglers continue to catch walleyes trolling crankbaits in 30 feet to 34 feet of water about 10 miles out from Lighthouse Gap, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. The scattered schools of walleyes are starting to move closer to shore. Pulling spinners and vertical jigging with a minnow in 12 to 18 feet of water also is producing some nice fish. Offshore reefs are holding walleyes with a few pike thrown in the mix, and smallmouth bass are active on shallow rocks and shoreline structure.
I'm a big fan of Thai food, and Thai tacos made from chicken or fish have become a standard entree on hunting and fishing trips in recent years. I came across a tasty looking variation on that theme recently while browsing through Kris Winkelman's online collection of wild game recipes. Winkelman, who hosts the "Kris' Kitchen" segment on husband Babe's outdoors TV show, posted a recipe for Thai Venison Wraps. With archery deer season now open in North Dakota and other fall seasons on the horizon, this tasty-looking dish would be worth trying out for successful hunters.
Brad Olson spent the afternoon of his 39th birthday in the woods near Grand Forks with his two camo-clad sons, checking trail cameras and deer stands before the North Dakota archery deer season, which opened Friday. Not even swarms of mosquitoes could keep the boys from tromping through the woods with their dad. Carter,10, has been shooting a bow since he was 7 years old and already has two bucks to his credit. Younger brother Jackson, 5, won't be able to hunt for a couple of years, but he loves to fish and will be in the woods with his dad and brother archery hunting.