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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September is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month, and while September days are numbered, the importance of being safe in a tree stand doesn't end Sept. 30. If anything, tree stand safety becomes even more important as deer gun and muzzleloader seasons approach. Every fall, it seems, hunters make news for all the wrong reasons after falling out of tree stands in accidents that could have been prevented.
WILLIAMS, Minn.—Curt Quesnell barely has a chance to get his boat up on plane before he reaches one of his favorite Lake of the Woods fishing spots on a crisp Monday morning in late September. So much for the adage that fishing always is better on the other side of the lake. For Quesnell, this side of Lake of the Woods near Long Point has been just fine, thank you very much. It's been that way for the past month, he says.
Barring a drastic change in weather patterns, dry conditions will play into hunting strategies this fall for duck and goose hunters, especially those who prefer hunting over water. The regular duck and goose seasons open Saturday, Sept. 23 in North Dakota and Minnesota. The first week of North Dakota's season is open to residents only; nonresidents can hunt beginning Sept. 30.
Hunter Dosch knows he's fortunate to only have 10 stitches in his right index finger and some cuts on his arms and a gash on one knee. It could have been worse. ... "I had a muzzleloader blow up in my hands," Dosch said, offering a short and sweet explanation of what happened. "Too much gunpowder. I'm about 100 percent sure of that."
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Henry Duray was new on the job as 22-year-old manager of Lewis and Clark State Park in northwest North Dakota when he walked into a store in Williston one day in 1976 to set up a charge account for the park. "The lady at the store wouldn't do it because she didn't think I was the manager — I was just way too young to be any kind of manager," Duray, 64, recalls. "I would need a letter from Bismarck saying who I was."
The past two weeks have been a blur as a combination of work and vacation took me everywhere from the Northwest Angle to the Twin Cities. On the work front, I was up at the Northwest Angle on Monday, Aug. 21, to report on an event celebrating the launch of a new border crossing system in this remote part of Minnesota that marks the northernmost point of the continental U.S.
WALKER, Minn.—The northwest wind was howling; screaming, in fact. On that point there could be no dispute. When you fish big water such as Leech Lake, though, you make the best of what Mother Nature throws you, and that was Toby Kvalevog's mindset on this August afternoon muskie excursion.
LAKE OF THE WOODS, Minn.—Bob Brott and his cousin, Gary Soucie, had just wrapped up a great day of walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods near Garden Island on Monday afternoon, July 31, when their day took a big turn for the worse. Fortunately, they lived to tell about it. As Brott recalls, they'd caught a limit of 17- to 19-inch walleyes, and he was steering his 1974 Glasspar powered by an 88-horse Evinrude outboard into a stiff southwest wind for the 15-mile trip back across Big Traverse Bay to Long Point, where they'd launched.
DEVILS LAKE—"Average" describes the status of adult fish populations in Devils Lake, results from a recent annual fisheries survey show. And from an angling perspective, "average" is still pretty darn good, based on recent history. This year's adult fish survey on Devils Lake yielded an average of 20.4 walleyes per net, which is on par with the long-term average of 20.6, said Todd Caspers, district fisheries biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.—More incidents of catfish being caught to left to rot on shore have been reported at a state park here. Catherine Johnson, seasonal manager of the Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks, on Thursday, July 27, shared a photograph a park employee took Wednesday after finding rotting catfish by the Eagle Point boat landing on the Red Lake River. The photo shows at least seven catfish, and the bellies of two with their undersides visible clearly had been slit.