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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A column idea popped into my head the other day that inspired me to see if I could come up with an alphabetical list of outdoorsy items, issues and events from A to Z that stand to be relevant this year. It took some doing, but here's my list. A: Is for April, a month that marks the unofficial beginning of spring and can't get here soon enough for many of us. A also is for asparagus, as in wild asparagus, as good of a vegetable as there is.
So you want to go winter camping but don't want to sleep in a tent, burrow into the snow or make a quinzhee snow shelter? Fear not, there are options out there that are considerably easier, not to mention a whole lot warmer. In North Dakota, the state Parks and Recreation Department offers winter opportunities at a trio of state parks. Cross Ranch State Park near Center, N.D., has two log cabins and two primitive yurts available year round, and Lake Metigoshe State Park near Bottineau, N.D., has one primitive cabin and one yurt available year-round.
GRAND FORKS — A bill to establish a trespass law in North Dakota stands to be among the more prominent pieces of outdoors legislation on tap when lawmakers convene Tuesday, Jan. 3. In Minnesota, chronic wasting disease, elk and Department of Natural Resources funding all stand to be on the legislative agenda. Minnesota’s 2017 legislative session also gets underway Tuesday. Here’s a look at existing or potential outdoors legislation in the two states.
GRAND FORKS — It all started 20 years ago today, the first in a string of eight blizzards that culminated in the Red River Flood of 1997. Blizzard Andy, named by the Grand Forks Herald newspaper, and it dumped 12 inches of snow on Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Buffeted by 45 mph winds, Andy whipped up a frenzy of white that created near-zero visibility and brought the region to a screeching halt.
GRAND FORKS — Rick Swenson thought he'd only have to paddle 8 miles to set a world record for paddling a giant pumpkin Saturday morning, Oct. 15, as he set out from Grand Forks on his historic Red River voyage. Then he found out a few hours later while on the river that a paddler in Washington state had just paddled 15 miles. No worries. Swenson had to paddle farther than that anyway.
TURTLE RIVER STATE PARK, N.D.—Offering a guarantee of success is a dicey proposition with any pursuit, but Tim Driscoll liked his chances of catching at least one Northern saw-whet owl on this crisp, early fall evening. "I almost guarantee you tonight's going to be a big night," he said.
North Dakota's deer licensing system presents a challenge with no easy solution as it relates to retaining hunters after they turn 16. I thought about that the other day after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department sent out a news release announcing the limited doe permits that remained after the deer gun lottery had been sold. With only 49,000 deer gun licenses available statewide, that came as no surprise.
BISMARCK — North Dakota pheasant hunters can expect to work harder to shoot their limits this fall, but success likely will vary depending on how specific areas weathered this past summer's barrage of storms and bad weather, biologists say. North Dakota's regular pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 8. R.J. Gross, upland game management biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said the impact of weather variations was apparent during late-summer roadside surveys.
All signs point to a good waterfowl season in northeast North Dakota, but hunters might find the birds scattered because of widespread wet conditions. Muddy roads and fields also could present a challenge. Waterfowl season in North Dakota opens Saturday for residents, and nonresidents can go afield beginning Oct. 1.
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.