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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Deer camps are spruced up and ready for another season, friends and family are converging for the annual fall get-together, and the waiting's over. Minnesota's 2017 firearms deer season opens a half-hour before sunrise Saturday morning. As events on Minnesota's outdoors calendar go, only the walleye opener surpasses the opening day of deer season for participation. According to the Department of Natural Resources, some half a million hunters—give or take a few thousand—traditionally take to the fields and forests for opening day of deer season.
ROSEAU, Minn. — Jan Johnson knew the bear was in the area, and he knew it was big. He was right; it was. Johnson, of rural Roseau, toughed out a gloomy, rainy afternoon of bear hunting Oct. 1 and came home with a black bear that unofficially weighed 721 pounds live weight. Bears are scored by skull size rather than body weight, but Johnson's bear definitely is one of the heaviest bears to be taken in Minnesota in quite some time. Photos of the bear have been making the rounds in texts, emails and social media.
FOURTOWN, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a land exchange that would allow ATVs to travel a short length of trail in Beltrami Island State Forest that currently is federally owned and off-limits to the vehicles. Opening up the .7-mile length of trail, which is bordered on both ends by DNR land, to motorized use would provide a connection between northern parts of the forest and areas farther south near Fourtown.
If you’re planning to go fishing in Minnesota this weekend, make sure you buy a new fishing license first. The old licenses expire today. If my experience is any indication, there’s going to be some confusion about this. Like pretty much everyone else, I’d been under the assumption that the 2013 licenses were good until April 30 — which for reasons I don’t understand had been the case for the past few years — even though walleye and pike season on Minnesota inland waters closes in late February. But then a notice came out last week that licenses expire today, Feb. 28.