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ON WISCONSIN'S BRULE RIVER — Bruce Koepke slipped his hand under the young brown trout and quickly removed his pink yarn fly from its lip. It was nearly midday on Saturday, March 31, opening day of the early trout season on Wisconsin's Brule River. Koepke returned the fish to the water. The Brule opener is a hallowed tradition for many steelhead anglers, and Koepke, of Duluth, usually rises early and heads for the river. But the snowstorm that had swept through parts of the Northland overnight made him reconsider.
NORTHWEST OF ISLAND LAKE, Minn. — Phil Johnson was up near his hunting shack northwest of Island Lake one day when he came across an older man sitting in his pickup along the road. Johnson, of Esko, Minnesota, is an amiable guy. He stopped to say hello. The man in the truck had been hunting, too, he told Johnson. Johnson noticed an old black Lab lying on the seat beside the man. It had been his son's dog, the man told Johnson, but his son had moved away and — well, the old man had ended up with the dog.
ISABELLA, Minn.—Justin Bailey of Keewatin was hunting ruffed grouse near Isabella on Tuesday morning when a wolf chased his hunting dog out of the woods. "He was coming at me 100 miles per hour, and right behind him was a wolf, biting at his heels," said Bailey, 33. "They probably passed 5 or 6 feet from us." Bailey was standing at the edge of the road with his son, Andrew Bailey, 3, and his nephew, Brock Bjelland, 5, of Marble, whom he had brought along for the day of hunting.
The closest I ever got to Vietnam was a make-believe village in a grove of trees outside Fort Sill, Okla. It was 1970, and I was a jeep driver for a captain during my training as an artilleryman. Many nights, I'd drive him to "Vietnam Village," a supposed representation of an Army command post in the jungle of Vietnam. It was mostly darkened pathways among the thickets, lit only by red safety lights.
The number of Minnesota small-game hunters dropped last fall compared to 2015, continuing a steady trend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported this past week. According to the agency's annual survey of small-game hunters, the number of duck and goose hunters dropped, as did the number of pheasant hunters. Grouse hunter numbers were up about 4 percent but remain much lower than in past decades.
DULUTH, Minn.—Ryan Kesselhon couldn't figure out what was happening to his 11-year-old daughter, Maren. One minute, Maren had been peacefully dangling from her family's paddleboard in Island Lake on Wednesday afternoon. The next second she was screaming wildly. "I couldn't figure out what she was screaming about," Ryan Kesselhon said. "Then she lifted her foot out of the water, and I could see it was filleted open in many places." Closer examination revealed she had been cut in 25 places, mostly on her upper ankle and on top of her foot, Kesselhon said.
Many more lake trout released by Lake Superior anglers die when water temperatures are over 50 degrees than originally thought, according to a new fisheries study on Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Results of the study, led by a researcher at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Marquette, will soon be published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.
BAUDETTE, Minn.—Already, it had been a good night for Morgan Gallus and her companions who were sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River near Baudette, Minn. They had caught a 50-inch and a 51-inch sturgeon and two smaller ones. Gallus, of Delano, Minn., was out with Duluth native Grant Sorensen, now of Minneapolis, and two other friends. They were taping their sturgeon-fishing adventure for an upcoming episode of Sorensen's "Superior Angling" show on WDIO-TV Channel 10 in Duluth. They already had plenty of content from the evening.
Management of white-tailed deer by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is sound, and the agency’s methods of estimating deer populations are “commendable and align with best deer management practices.” That’s the assessment from a report released Thursday by the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. But, the audit concluded, the DNR should improve its statistical methods and how it confirms its deer population estimates.
Minnesota wildlife researchers say they are getting a better understanding of what's killing the state's moose and causing a major population decline. After three years of monitoring live adult moose via satellite, retrieving them as soon after death as possible and carefully examining their remains, wildlife biologists can identify specific causes of death, reported Glenn DelGiudice, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources moose project leader.