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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A year or so back, I challenged myself to come up with a list of the outdoors from A to Z. That might sound easy enough, but as I got down to developing the list, I found it to be quite a challenge. For some letters, at least. The challenge proved to be even more formidable when I decided to tackle it again this week because I couldn't use any of the words I used the last time around. No surprise, perhaps, but X proved to be the greatest challenge.
DICKINSON, N.D. — North Dakota has its first bighorn sheep entries in the Boone and Crockett awards book after two hunters in November shot rams with horns big enough to qualify. Dustin Seamands of Bismarck made the most of his once-in-a-lifetime North Dakota sheep tag to shoot a ram that measured 177⅛ inches after the mandatory 60-day drying period, making it the new North Dakota record bighorn. Brian Ham of Alice, N.D., wasn't far behind, shooting a ram that officially measured 176⅝ inches after the drying period.
HILLSBORO, N.D. — Details are sketchy at this point, but the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed a hunter legally shot and killed a mountain lion Tuesday, Dec. 19, northwest of Hillsboro. Mike Sedlacek, district game warden for Game and Fish in Fargo, said he took the call from the hunter who shot the lion and reported it within 12 hours as required. The hunter has said he wants to remain anonymous.
He had the buck in his sights—"dead to rights," as he put it later—and everything was lining up for a perfect shot. The deer was standing broadside no more than 50 yards away, and the moment deer hunters wait for was at hand. He pulled the trigger. Click. ... And that was it. No loud boom. No cloud of smoke. No deer. We weren't there to witness this incident firsthand, but we could envision the cry of anguish that likely interrupted the silence of a northern Minnesota evening.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Authorities in Devils Lake say they haven't actually seen the mountain lion captured on a landowner's trail cameras three weeks ago on the west side of Six-Mile Bay, but there's no question the photos are legit as rumors about the cat continue to fly. "I'm pretty sure we have a cat here—or had," said Paul Freeman, northeast district enforcement supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake. "It has been quite some time. Is it still around? It's certainly possible."
Dr. Kayla Odegard, of Grand Forks, N.D., shot this moose with a bow Sept. 14 while hunting between Rock Lake and Sarles, N.D. According to her dad, Dr. Rick Odegard, she drew one of the once-in-a-lifetime tags the first time she applied.
We could see the ice was safe—at least 6 inches thick—judging by the depth of the tiny fissures that spidered across the crystal-clear surface of the frozen pond. Still, the sound of the ice groaning and popping as we took our first tentative steps, checking with a spud bar every few feet to make sure it was safe, was just as unsettling as I remembered it. The ice was in a talkative mood that afternoon. I've spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on the ice over the years, but I'll never get used to that sound.
Turkey will take center stage at dinner tables across the country Thursday when Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feasts, but many hunters will be giving thanks for the wild birds, which provide hunting opportunities in both North Dakota and Minnesota. "I used to love elk hunting, and then I got a taste of turkey hunting," said Kristi Coughlon, an information officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji and—you guessed it—an avid turkey hunter.
GRAND FORKS — As a parent with a passion for sharing the outdoors with his kids, Cal Helgeson is frustrated. Given the potential challenges young deer hunters in North Dakota face after drawing their two youth deer hunting tags, he's probably not alone.
GRAND FORKS — When Tommy Sullivan transferred to Grand Forks Air Force Base in 2012 from Edwards AFB in California, he bought a new .30-06 rifle in hopes of drawing a tag for North Dakota's regular deer gun season, which opens at noon Friday, Nov. 10. He's still hoping. "I haven't even shot at a deer with it yet," said Sullivan, 31, a technical sergeant who lives near Thompson, N.D.