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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I'm in catch-up mode after a few days out of the office that served up near-perfect weather. Perfect weather by late February and early March standards, at least. It all started last Saturday, Feb. 24, when four of us set out by snowmobile on a trip across Lake of the Woods from Warroad, Minn., to Oak Island on the Northwest Angle. Ice fishing and snowmobiling were on the agenda, and the conditions for both were ideal.
At first glance, Jake Cosley says he wasn't quite sure what he was seeing Wednesday afternoon while snowmobiling on the Red River south of Pembina, N.D. It looked like a dead deer, but something else seemed to be going on, too, he said.
WALHALLA, N.D. — Jim Brown had seen the two bucks on his trail camera near Walhalla, N.D., earlier in the fall, but then they stopped showing up. That all changed one day in December when Brown, a Walhalla contractor, checked the card on his Cuddyback trail camera. What he saw only can be described as a spectacle of nature: One buck entangled with the rack of another buck whose body is severed from its head. The antlers and severed head hang from the rack of the living buck.
GRAND FORKS—The reprieve from cold weather came none too soon for my tastes, and a few days of above-zero temperatures have offered all the motivation I needed to get out of the house. As I write this late in the week, the mercury has climbed into the mid-20s where I'm headed for the weekend and is set to hit the high 30s. There's nothing specific on the itinerary other than putting a few miles on the sleds, strapping on the snowshoes and tromping through the woods to see what I can see and perhaps even doing a bit of ice fishing.
One thing's for sure: People have a fascination with mountain lions. Sightings, whether confirmed or hearsay, always get people talking. "It definitely stirs up some local discussion," said Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. That has been readily apparent since mid-November, when a mountain lion showed up on two different trail cameras a landowner had set on his property near Devils Lake.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Derik Zimmel had what he called a "fortunate misfortune" last spring, when he got an email from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department with the news he'd drawn both moose and cow elk licenses for the fall hunting season. Elk and moose tags both are once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunities in North Dakota, and Game and Fish issues the licenses by lottery. The odds of drawing even one of the licenses, much less two, are slim at best. Drawing two in the same year is unheard of.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—It doesn't happen very often—fortunately—but there are times when an outdoor excursion requires digging deep into the creative well to pull out a story. Sometimes, the fish don't bite, the hunting is poor or the weather is bad. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Such was the case last Sunday, when two friends and I hit Lake Winnipeg for what easily was the shortest fishing excursion we've ever had on the big lake. We know futility when we see it. The abbreviated version of the story would be something like this: It was windy.
NEAR LENGBY, Minn.—This is a story about coming full circle. It all started in 1970, when Don Klinke heard about a landowner who wanted pine trees planted on a piece of ground in Clearwater County northwest of Bagley, Minn. Locals know the area as "B.S. Valley." Actually, it has a longer name—and that's no bull—but the abbreviated version will suffice for the purposes of this story. Klinke, who grew up in the wooded country southeast of Lengby and has lived there all of his 81 years, was working for Clearwater County at the time.
HILLSBORO, N.D. — Details are sketchy at this point, but the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed a hunter legally shot and killed a mountain lion Tuesday, Dec. 19, northwest of Hillsboro. Mike Sedlacek, district game warden for Game and Fish in Fargo, said he took the call from the hunter who shot the lion and reported it within 12 hours as required. The hunter has said he wants to remain anonymous.
There's a lot of "I seen it on the Internet" misinformation or fake news floating around out there these days, but a Facebook video post from the Kittson County Sheriff's Office in far northwest Minnesota caught my attention Friday morning. There's nothing fake about it. In the video, Kittson County Sheriff Steve Porter and Chief Deputy Matt Vig highlight the confirmed and suspected incidents in which officers from the department responded to reports of livestock either killed by wolves or missing and likely killed by wolves in the past year.