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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EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — After last year, Ted Dick could be excused for being gun shy about making predictions on ruffed grouse hunting this fall in Minnesota. The season for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 15. Forest game bird coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., Dick last year offered a rosy outlook on hunting prospects after spring drumming counts soared to a statewide average of 2.1 drums per stop, a 57 percent increase from the spring of 2016.
It's been a busy few weeks for bear sightings in northwest Minnesota and other parts of the state, and a new online tool the Department of Natural Resources launched for reporting bear sightings is filling up with dots. To date, the interactive map shows 10 sightings in Polk County, nine in Pennington County and five in Marshall County in far northwest Minnesota. And since the map only shows reported sightings, there's a good chance even more bears have been seen and not reported.
It was a beautiful late-summer evening, and we were grilling up some venison brats and sitting down to enjoy a cookout on the deck washed down with a couple of cold Samuel Adams Octoberfests. The arrival of Sam's Octoberfest is an anticipated event on the calendar because it's yet another sign that fall—the most anticipated time of year for many outdoors-lovers—is just around the corner.
WARROAD, Minn. -- It's a gray Monday morning, and there's enough wind to put a chop on Lake of the Woods, which stretches toward the horizon in an imposing shade of steely-blue. The chatter on the marine band radio hints the fishing might be better than the catching so far this chilly morning, but that won't be the case everywhere. Not in this boat, at least. Tom Heinrich is out here again, just as he's been every day for the past two weeks. Ditto for Nate Hodgins and Seth Herbst. Windy days, calm days, in-between days, they've been on the water.