MinBlogs

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…

Hey Legislature! Leave our opener alone!

Frankly, I just don’t buy it: The concept being proposed by two Legislators to move the Minnesota fishing opener back a week because of the early spring. Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook and Rep. David Dill of Crane Lake are the ones behind this half-baked scheme which, at first mention, made me rather excited. Their reasoning? It was a tough…

Is it really about the Castle Doctrine?

It reminds me of the campfire game where someone tells a secret to the person next to them and they repeat it to the person next to them and it goes around the circle to the last person who repeats it. Nine times out of ten it doesn't resemble what the original statement was at all. Such is the case…

Fee increase moving

A plan to hike fishing and hunting license fees, which hasn’t been done on a general scale since 2001, won unanimous approval from a key Senate committee on Tuesday. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee approved of the plan, offered by committee chair Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, that, among other things, would increase the annual cost for a resident fishing license…

What do moose and eelpout have in common?

A story by long-time Grand Forks Herald outdoors scribe Brad Dokken has appeared in several publications and websites the past few days via the Associated Press wire. Dokken reports a recurring theme about burbot, or eelpout, in this part of the country: They’re struggling. Like the moose – another signature species in Minnesota – eelpout prefer cold Minnesota weather. While…

The “magic” of outdoors television

No matter how many times we hear it, some people just don’t seem to be able to accept the concept of, “Don’t believe everything you see on television.” That’s true with everything you see on television, particularly commercials and outdoors programs. Not to sound too cynical, but the line between commercial and outdoors program is a very grey area. Post…

Four fast-and-furious bloggy thoughts

High Lonesome Ranch. This week’s Outdoor News Radio contains an interview with Paul Vahldiek, Jr., the majority shareholder and CEO of the High Lonesome Ranch, a mixed use landscape in west-central Colorado. I visited the 300-square-mile operation last fall during the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Media Summit. The vision that Vahldiek and his staff have created for sustainable, private lands management…

$15 to access walk-in lands?

It’s put up or shut up time for the state’s young walk-in hunting access program. Originally intended as a three-year, federally funded pilot, it appears the program either is going to have to stand on its own, or go down the road. This is why: That third year of federal funds isn’t coming. DNR officials hope to enroll 25,000 acres of…

Refreshing ‘Conservation Hawks’ doesn’t mince words

New outdoor group deserves a chance from sporting community Last fall, I trout fished Colorado’s White River with Todd Tanner, a Montana-based conservation writer and fine fly-fisherman. Guests of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership at its annual writer’s summit, we had a two-hour van ride along with other writers and TRCP staff to the river. En route, we chatted about our…

Trip reflection

If this is what global warming looks like, I’ll take it.I’ve just returned from an annual ice-fishing trip that I’ve taken now for 13 years with the same group of college buddies. In other years, we’ve rented sleeper houses at Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, Upper Red, and Cass.This year, we bucked tradition and went to Alexandria. My family’s…

Minnesota DNR public meetings next week, plus a cat link

The DNR announced this week that it’s seeking citizen input on three hunting and trapping issues at a series of five meetings beginning this coming Thursday. The proposals are: • Requiring non-toxic shot for rail and snipe hunting. • Adding a third waterfowl zone in southern Minnesota. • Allowing snaring to begin earlier on private property in the farmland zone….

How much is too much?

How far are we willing to go in the fight against invasive species such as zebra mussels?I’ve been pondering that question a lot lately.The DNR already has announced that, beginning with this spring’s ice-out, simply pulling a boat is sufficient grounds to get pulled over and checked.And now, in its latest proposal to the Legislature, the DNR seeks to make…

Invoking ducks to justify 220 Conibears

But protecting waterfowl not a good enough reason to extend raccoon season Debate over the use and placement of 220 Conibears has erupted within the mainstream media and in the pages of Outdoor News. A couple of writers have suggested trappers alter their methods, especially on public land, to help avoid the bad publicity that always ensues when a dog…

Conservation grab bag: Bad BWSR idea, and a fellow trout angler passes

A proposal emerged last week to combine the Board of Water and Soil Resources with the state Department of Agriculture. Bad idea. As Joe Albert reports in the Jan. 27 Outdoor News (and this website) it’s part of the House GOP’s Reform 2.0 effort to find more efficiencies in state government. Sounds reasonable, but legislators should look elsewhere for problems in…