MinBlogs

We interrupt this outdoors blog for a public service DEMAND

At ballgames, political rallies, and on holidays, we regularly and rightfully honor Americans who put their life on the line through military service or as police, firefighters, or in other emergency roles. But there’s a simple task Americans from all walks of life can perform to save lives. It’s called donating blood, and in a nation that prides itself on…

Why hunt wolves?

I was sitting around with some friends recently and the conversation circled around to the first modern Minnesota wolf hunt, which is to take place this fall and winter in the state. Why would anyone want to hunt a wolf? Do you eat them? Are they a menace? With so many people responding to the DNR online questionnaire in a…

Mosquitoes accompany summer camping "fun" in the BWCA and beyond

Paddled the length of the Kawishiwi River through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness last week. A year ago, we tackled the BWCA via the Lake One entry point and headed east through the number lakes. While visiting in 2011, lightning ignited the Pagami Creek Fire a couple miles east of where we camped. The fire smoldered in a small area…

Once they're here, can we stop exotic species?

Eurasian watermilfoil. Hydrilla. Zebra mussels. Emerald ash borer. Asian carp. The list of exotic invasive species in the United States is long and growing. Every time a new one makes the list government organizations get blasted for their ineptness and these agencies scramble to come up with programs to quell the anxieties of the masses who are shouting for solutions….

Minnesota hosts 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp home state event

Because Minnesotans keep winning the federal duck stamp contest, Minnesota regularly hosts the Federal Duck Stamp Home State Ceremony. That tradition continues on Saturday, July 14 with a ceremony and sporting clays shoot at the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club. Artists born or raised in Minnesota have now won the nationwide competition 26 times, and 18 times in the…

Positive experiences

Spent a day last week with DNR Conservation Officer Shane Osborne, who patrols the Evansville area in western Minnesota. We were out on Lake Ida near Alexandria, where Osborne was taking his turn patrolling the vacant station. I’m sure Osborne has had more exciting days on the job, which isn’t to say that busting someone for something is part and parcel…

A mixed picture in North Dakota’s waterfowl survey results

The results of North Dakota’s annual breeding duck population study are a study in opposites. And an interesting one, indeed. Consider: The total duck breeding population, nearly 4.8 million, is the third-highest since the state surveys began in 1948. That’s up 16 percent from last year and exceeded the long-term average by 112 percent. On the other hand: The water…

Those Tournaments are Still Killing Fish

I dropped by a bass fishing tournament the other day on Lake Minnetonka, a lake close to my home. Even with all the research data, articles in major publications and a constant barrage of information targeted towards delayed mortality regarding fishing competitions, the events are still killing all the fish and claiming they are being released. Check out this Bag…

The conversion of a bass fisherman

So last Saturday marked the Minnesota bass-fishing opener. For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered that Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend the real fishing opener. Sure, I hit the water on the walleye opener, but often as not, I’m fishing rainbow trout on Bad Medicine Lake near Park Rapids. It’s been the bass opener that’s always been the…

Why aren’t you fishing walleyes on Lake Mille Lacs?

Hit Lake Mille Lacs on Wednesday via a launch from Liberty Beach, and our fishing party enjoyed an excellent walleye bite. As Outdoor News has reported since opener, fishing has been very good on the big lake this spring. Myself and a co-worker, Mark Weber, joined the Minnesota Bound crew and some of its sponsors for an afternoon of slip-bobbering…

Are American black bears getting meaner?

I have been noticing a lot of bear-attacking-human stories in the news lately. The best one can be read at Brandon Sun. It seems a man went to the outhouse at a campground and a black bear dragged him from his sitting perch by his arm and shoulder then bit him on the back of his head and neck. The…

Roundup of top hunting, fishing, and conservation issues

OK, so if you want to call this a lazy blog, be my guest. But here are a half-dozen items that have occupied my attention the past week. I figure they’re worth sharing with other dear browsers (that's a hunting pun, get it?) interested in outdoors debate around the country. Issue of the week: LWCF First, a little advocacy. The federal Land…

Some ‘bullheaded’ comments about fishing

Fishing with my kids over the opening weekend of fishing was one of the biggest joys I’ll ever experience in my life. My 4-year-old son caught his first fish from cast to setting the hook to reeling it all the way to the boat. My 2-year-old daughter also had a milestone by reeling in her first fish without too much…

Minnesota Outdoors Leader Award recognizes state's best conservationists

Thirteen years ago, Outdoor News launched its Man/Woman of the Year Award. We’ve recognized some fine people, and we’ll be honoring individuals with that annual award for as long as we’re around. (Again, congratulations to our 2012 recipient, Elizabeth Wilkens!) There are so many great people and groups out there who deserve recognition, yet we’ve limited ourselves to one award…

Opening weekend

Well, that was a good fishing opener. Couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the fishing was pretty darn good, too. Part of our group spent Saturday on a rather small lake north of Detroit Lakes. The three of them caught and released in the neighborhood of 20 walleyes and kept a few for the pan, too. My wife would…

Do we really need an opener?

The Minnesota Fishing Opener is just a few days away, on May 12. Wisconsin opened last weekend. This just allows Minnesotans to fish for pike and walleyes. Bass is still closed for a couple of weeks. Yet Wisconsin opens the bass season the same weekend as pike and bass. In South Dakota there is no fishing opener and with the…

White pelicans rebound, call Minnesota lakes and rivers home

My first experience with white pelicans occurred in the early 1980s at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in western Oregon. My family had loaded into the station wagon on an epic roadtrip across the western United States. We’d seen some amazing sights and creatures – buffalo, elk, prairie dogs towns, trumpeter swans, prairie falcons, and golden eagles. But the amazing, graceful…

Sad news, good news

Lots happening on the state’s outdoors scene. First, the sad: Don McMillan, president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance and all-around good guy, passed away last Thursday. He was 74 years old. You can read tributes to Don elsewhere, but I think the turnout at his visitation and funeral on Tuesday was a testament to the difference he made. The…

Saying goodbye to friend and mentor Don McMillan

The state conservation scene lost one of its hardest-working volunteers and leaders Thursday with the passing of Don McMillan. Don’s sphere of influence extended well beyond Minnesota’s borders, maybe America’s borders, through his work with Safari Club International and other organizations. Beyond his efforts on behalf of hunters and conservation causes, McMillan was a good friend and mentor to so…

Coming off the NRA Convention

The NRA convention was held April 13-15 in St. Louis and I attended it with my brother, Dave. Both of us were like kids in the candy store. So much to see, touch and covet and not enough time to do the show justice. It was also an enlightening experience because one can tell the direction of the industry while…