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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NOME, Alaska — There were times, Chuck Lindner admits, when he had to dig deep to continue the 350-mile bicycle trek in which he'd immersed himself during the depths of the brutal Alaskan winter. The fourth day was probably the roughest, he said. Walking and pushing his fat tire bike up a rugged mountain pass into a sustained headwind of 50 mph and a wind chill factor of 50 below zero, Lindner says he averaged about 1 mph. There was no pedaling that day, and Lindner covered 19 miles in about 17 hours.
BISMARCK—North Dakota anglers, trappers and spring light goose hunters need new licenses for the 2017-18 season starting Saturday, April 1, and license buyers who use the Game and Fish Department's website will notice a new look to the online licensing system. The online system allows customers to buy, renew or apply for licenses. New licenses are available today, both online and at more than 140 vendors throughout the state.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D.—As comebacks go, I don't know how it could have been any better. Last Sunday in many ways was a day to celebrate. The weather was about as perfect as you could ask for on an early March day. The sun was shining, the sounds of passing Canada geese filled the air, and the relentless wind that had made being outside the previous day miserable was a thing of the past, if only for a day. Anyone fortunate enough to be outside last Sunday truly received a gift. The fishing wasn't bad, either. That's where the comeback comes into play.
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 6, 2017. EDINBURG, N.D.—An animal shot illegally west of Edinburg in Walsh County in northeast North Dakota has been confirmed as a gray wolf, and charges are pending, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says. Paul Freeman, northeast district warden supervisor for Game and Fish in Devils Lake, said he received a call Feb. 19 from a witness who'd seen an animal shot along Walsh County Road 9. Freeman responded to the site and put down the wounded animal.
GRAND FORKS — The winter of 2016-17 started out on a dicey note for wildlife managers, who feared the impact of heavy snow and prolonged cold on species such as deer and pheasants. At the same time, fisheries managers braced themselves for winterkill, which can occur when snow builds up atop the ice and underwater plants produce less of the dissolved oxygen fish and other aquatic life need to survive. After a nasty December, the consensus in early March is things could have been worse if not for prolonged mild stretches of unseasonable weather in January and February.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing modest increases in the number of elk and moose licenses available for the 2017 hunting season. According to Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the department is proposing to offer 389 elk tags statewide, up from 332 last year. The department is planning to offer 247 moose licenses, Williams said, up from slightly more than 200 last year. The department's elk and moose proclamations are at the governor's office awaiting the signature of Gov. Doug Burgum, Williams said.
Last week brought an influx of rough-legged hawks to our area that was both larger and earlier than expected. Matt Spoor alerted Grand Cities Bird Club members to the phenomenon. He reported seeing 35 rough-legged hawks in the grasslands areas northwest of Grand Forks last Sunday. I got in on the party, though I didn't see nearly as many hawks as Spoor, probably because I started late and didn't put in as much time or cover as many miles. During the week, I saw rough-legged hawks along my route to the state capitol in Bismarck.
Ted Takasaki is one of North America's foremost authorities on walleyes and how to catch them. A native of Chatsworth, Ill., a small farm town about 100 miles south of Chicago, Takasaki, 59, attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he graduated with a degree in engineering. "A lot of good that did me," he joked.
LAKE BRONSON, Minn.—With daytime temperatures near 45 degrees, it wasn't exactly a polar expedition, but nine students from Heritage Christian School in Karlstad, Minn., spent two nights recently winter camping at Lake Bronson State Park in northwest, Minnesota. The state park near the town of Lake Bronson is about 80 miles northeast of Grand Forks.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D.—A Devils Lake angler has caught what likely will be the new world line-class record white bass on Devils Lake as recognized by the International Game Fish Association. Blake LaFleur caught the white bass Feb. 13 in 40 feet of water in the main basin of Devils Lake using 2-pound test line. The big fish weighed 4.27 and 4.32 pounds on separate scales and measured 18½ inches long with a 16-inch girth.