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. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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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.
GRAND FORKS—Kyle Heim says he knew there were zander swimming around in Spiritwood Lake, but he didn't go out expecting to catch one June 6 when he went fishing on the 489-acre lake northeast of Jamestown, N.D. That's exactly what happened when Heim, of Bismarck, landed a 27-inch zander that tipped the scales at 7 pounds.
CASS LAKE, Minn.—You play the cards you're dealt when picking a date on the calendar to go fishing, and Brian Brosdahl's hand on this June morning was stacked with ample doses of sun, high barometric pressure and light to variable winds. That's hardly a royal flush when the destination is gin-clear Cass Lake and the target is walleyes, a sometimes fickle fish known to favor low-light conditions and choppy waves. No worries, Brosdahl said; we'd get our fish. "They'll still bite," he said. "You just have to appeal to their animal instincts."
BIRCHDALE, Minn.—When your daily commute takes you along Minnesota Highway 11 from International Falls to Baudette, you're bound to experience some memorable wildlife encounters. Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Baudette, was reminded of that Tuesday morning on the drive to work.
GRAND FORKS—It's difficult to quantify how many moose are hit by vehicles every year in North Dakota and Minnesota because records aren't kept, officials say, but when collisions occur, the damage can be extensive. The most recent incident occurred Tuesday night, June 12, when two people were injured near Manvel, N.D., after hitting a moose on U.S. Highway 81 near the intersection with 20th Street Northeast, according to Lt. Gary Grove of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office.
PARK RIVER, N.D. -- When Duaine Ash moved to Devils Lake in 1969, fishing was limited to northern pike, and the lake wasn’t the popular North Dakota fishing destination it is today. “We fished out on Grahams Island and got northerns,” Ash said. “I remember we drove out to Grahams Island, and that whole stretch of road going out there was just cattails on both sides of the road. You could see the treeline of Grahams Island on the north shore, and I thought, ‘Holy cow, I wonder what that would look like when it’s full of water.’
GRAND FORKS—There could be more, but by all indications, only one peregrine falcon chick hatched in the nest box atop the UND water tower, where patriarch Marv and a new female of unknown origin set up shop this spring. "The good news is we have one baby; the bad news is we only have one baby," local raptor expert and licensed bander Tim Driscoll said Thursday.
MICHIGAN, N.D. — For whatever reasons bears decide to wander where they don't normally wander, a bear decided to wander into Michigan, N.D., and has caused quite the buzz since Wednesday night, June 6, when photos started showing up on social media. Seth Smaage of Michigan took the first photos of the bear about 5 p.m. Wednesday, when it was standing just west of the Leading Edge Equipment John Deere dealership north of U.S. Highway 2 in Michigan, and the photos then were posted on the Community of Michigan, ND Facebook page.
GRAND FORKS—The peregrine falcons nesting atop the University of North Dakota water tower appear to have at least one baby, observers say. Parents are Marv, the patriarch of Grand Forks peregrines since 2014, and an unbanded female that showed up this spring in place of Terminator, who had produced every peregrine chick since 2008 when she first nested in Grand Forks. Terminator didn't return to the nest box this year, so the speculation is she died.
Early next month, we'll load up, six of us, in two pickups for a very long drive into the wilds of northern Saskatchewan. We'll cross into Canada northwest of Minot and wind our way north through small prairie towns that will pass in the blink of an eye. We'll drive through larger communities such as Estevan and small cities such as Regina and Prince Albert, where we'll cross the Saskatchewan River and leave the prairies in the rear view mirror.