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Doug Smith

Reporter | Outdoors
phone: 612-673-7667
Doug Smith, a Minnesota native, has been covering fishing, hunting and other natural resource and outdoor issues since 1995.
Recent content from Doug Smith
Veterans return the love at Stacy Dvorak funeral

Veterans return the love at Stacy Dvorak funeral

Veterans, and the outdoors, feel the impact left by Stacy Dvorak.
Boaters, anglers, hunters could face changes if vetoed bill is approved

Boaters, anglers, hunters could face changes if vetoed bill is approved

Outdoor enthusiasts will have to wait to see how they are affected by a wide-ranging bill passed last week by the Legislature that was vetoed Saturday by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Smaller, enthusiastic fishing crowd on Mille Lacs

Smaller, enthusiastic fishing crowd on Mille Lacs

They came to renew rituals despite the tightest-ever size restrictions on the state’s most popular fishing lake.
BWCA trip tips: Readers offer their best to first-timers

BWCA trip tips: Readers offer their best to first-timers

While most BWCA visitors are experienced, every year first-timers travel there — some prepared, many others not so much. So on the eve of another open-water BWCA season, we solicited tips for first-timers from readers who are veteran BWCA travelers.
Tips for BWCA first-timers

Tips for BWCA first-timers

From dos to don’ts, readers offer their top tips for BWCA first-timers.
Mentored hunts aim to lure novices to turkey hunting

Mentored hunts aim to lure novices to turkey hunting

First came youth turkey hunts, then a women’s hunt. Now officials have broadened mentored turkey hunts to include men, women and kids.
Some Minnesota turkey hunters to have birds tested for avian flu

Some Minnesota turkey hunters to have birds tested for avian flu

Starting Monday, the DNR is asking hunters in Kandiyohi, Pope, Meeker, Swift and Stearns counties to call local DNR wildlife offices.
Deer hunters group and DNR clash over deer population goals

Deer hunters group and DNR clash over deer population goals

The Deer Hunters Association is dissatisfied with the DNR’s response over the deer population goal-setting process.
DNR slashes Mille Lacs walleye limit, bans night fishing

DNR slashes Mille Lacs walleye limit, bans night fishing

Walleye decline and fear of overharvest prompts DNR action.
Paddling from the Gulf to the Arctic

Paddling from the Gulf to the Arctic

Six companions are making a nine-month, 5,200-mile canoe trip that began at the Gulf of Mexico and will end at the Arctic Ocean.
Legendary Minnsota anglers, companies, inducted into Fishing Hall of Fame

Legendary Minnsota anglers, companies, inducted into Fishing Hall of Fame

Three Minnesota anglers, two companies honored.

Federal program to remove problem wolves is restarted

It was restored because the animal is back on the endangered-species list.
Bill in Legislature tries to save dogs from accidental trappings

Bill in Legislature tries to save dogs from accidental trappings

“We need to do something so our pets don’t get killed anymore,” said Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, author of the bill.
Buffer strip bill has support from sports groups, opposition from farmers

Buffer strip bill has support from sports groups, opposition from farmers

An ambitious plan requiring 50-foot grass strips to protect nearly all state waters draws strong support and opposition.

Proposed trapping restrictions aimed at protecting dogs

The DNR and dog owners back the plan to add new regulations, but trapping advocates oppose it.
Wolf pup survival a fragile thing

Wolf pup survival a fragile thing

Breeding boosts numbers, but getting to adulthood always is a fragile thing.

Outdoor bills include one prohibiting citizens from shooting dogs chasing deer

Action is heating up at the Legislature, where several outdoors-related bills have been introduced. Some have little chance of passing, but others likely will become…

A hot bite: Red Lake fishing pressure smashes record

A red-hot walleye bite and ideal ice conditions lured a record number of anglers to Upper Red Lake this winter. Through January, officials tallied 1.5…

Minnesota farmers face a 'perfect storm' because of wolf ruling

Minnesota farmers have no one to call about wolf depredation, and compensation fund is nearly dry.

Court of appeals rejects challenge to Mille Lacs fishing regulations

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge to the Lake Mille Lacs fishing regulations by a group of local residents and resort owners.
Fish to fowl: Pelican Lake restoration is work in progress

Fish to fowl: Pelican Lake restoration is work in progress

The fish are mostly gone on Wright County’s popular Pelican Lake. Now efforts to restore it as a waterfowl haven are underway.
Smith: New Deer Hunters Association leader brings fresh perspective

Smith: New Deer Hunters Association leader brings fresh perspective

On Outdoors: Craig Engwall is the new leader of the state’s largest advocacy group for whitetails.
DNR proposal: Reduce population of hammer-handle-sized northerns

DNR proposal: Reduce population of hammer-handle-sized northerns

The overabundance of small, hammer-handle-size northerns, which plagues many Minnesota lakes, could be curtailed under a landmark proposal now being considered by the Department of Natural Resources.

State park pass and boat registration fees could rise

The last park fee increase came in 2003.

Waterfowl habitat and management center stage at free symposium

Are Minnesota’s duck hunting regulations too liberal, resulting in hunters killing too many ducks? Or have recent liberal regulations simply given hunters more opportunities, boosting…
Enforcement of buffer strip law inconsistent

Enforcement of buffer strip law inconsistent

Required land strips aid water quality, but enforcement is uneven.
DNR delays mandatory invasive species training for boaters

DNR delays mandatory invasive species training for boaters

The effort to fight invasive species by teaching those who tow trailers was halted because of bills introduced in the Legislature to kill it.
DNR proposal: Prohibit permanent deer stands on state lands

DNR proposal: Prohibit permanent deer stands on state lands

The DNR is considering only portable deer stands on public lands to curb cutting of shooting lanes, hunter conflict.

Field report: Warmth has wrecked ski, snowmobile trails

While some Minnesotans are enjoying the unseasonably warm winter, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers are livid.Snow conditions are more like April than January. Around the state,…
The year outdoors: The cold set the tone

The year outdoors: The cold set the tone

The long, snowy winter and late spring left a mark on wildlife and humans alike.
Readers reveal how to replenish Minnesota's pheasant population

Readers reveal how to replenish Minnesota's pheasant population

We asked our readers for ideas on how to boost Minnesota’s pheasant population. And they responded.
Sunrise or sunset for pheasants? Summit seeks solutions

Sunrise or sunset for pheasants? Summit seeks solutions

Hoping to rekindle the pheasant population and avoid losing a cherished tradition, Minnesota’s first-ever pheasant summit sought solutions.
First ice: Hot fishing action lures early-season anglers

First ice: Hot fishing action lures early-season anglers

Early ice fishing almost always produces a “hot bite,’’ but theories vary on why that occurs.
St. Paul ice fishing show continues to grow

St. Paul ice fishing show continues to grow

About 175 vendors will display and sell their wares.
Counting critters with the Minnesota DNR

Counting critters with the Minnesota DNR

Tracks in dirt and snow help the DNR assess Minnesota’s carnivore populations — ranging from coyotes and fox to skunks and feral cats.

Minnesota deer harvest down 22 percent so far this season

With Minnesota’s deer season winding down, the whitetail harvest is 22 percent below this time last year — likely because of the early winterlike weather, fewer antlerless permits and a smaller deer herd.
Minnesotans share hunting tales

Minnesotans share hunting tales

Some 500,000 Minnesotans renewed hunting traditions or launched new ones. Here are some of their stories.
Hunters near quotas in wolf season

Hunters near quotas in wolf season

Some early-season zones are closing; DNR reports population stable.
Low deer population, cold weather impair firearms opener

Low deer population, cold weather impair firearms opener

High winds, cold weather and fewer deer in the woods resulted in a disappointing Minnesota firearms deer opener for many hunters.

Chippewa bands' first-ever swan hunt underway

A first swan hunting season ever opened Saturday for some Chippewa Indian band members in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.Ten bands, including six in Wisconsin and…
Are wolves to blame for fewer Minnesota moose?

Are wolves to blame for fewer Minnesota moose?

The jury is still out on climate change, but more wolves seems to correlate with a decline in moose population.

Duck season in doldrums; cold front could help

Weather change should impact animal activity.
Minnesota black bear population finds stability

Minnesota black bear population finds stability

New DNR strategies have helped bruins come back.
Pheasant hunting dilemma: Where are the hunters?

Pheasant hunting dilemma: Where are the hunters?

Except for the oldest, numbers have slipped dramatically since 2007.

Pheasants play hard to get throughout much of state

Minnesota pheasant hunters — hampered by a sea of standing corn and below-average pheasant numbers — struggled to find birds on opening weekend despite optimistic forecasts.
A picture-perfect pheasant hunting opener

A picture-perfect pheasant hunting opener

Most hunters found birds, and spectacular weather, at the Governor’s Pheasant Opener.
Pheasants are a cherished gamebird in Minnesota

Pheasants are a cherished gamebird in Minnesota

Minnesota’s pheasant population has been on a roller coaster since the birds were introduced here in 1905.

Pheasant opener: Hunters might find more ringnecks than expected

Hunters might find more pheasants this season than expected based on sightings.
Minnesota's pheasant habitat is being improved, but the amount continues to decline

Minnesota's pheasant habitat is being improved, but the amount continues to decline

Grassland quality for pheasants is improving, but quantity is shrinking.

Most hunters found some ducks — and mosquitoes — on a summerlike waterfowl opener

With temperatures hitting 80 degrees under blue skies, Minnesota’s waterfowl hunting opener was one most hunters likely will remember, regardless of how many ducks they…
Guide to Minnesota's 13 national wildlife refuges

Guide to Minnesota's 13 national wildlife refuges

Minnesota is home to 13 national wildlife refuges, each with a distinct set of attractions for hunters, anglers, birders and wildlife-watchers.
A duck dilemma: How many is too many?

A duck dilemma: How many is too many?

The Concerned Duck Hunters Panel is calling for renewed discussion among hunters and policymakers about the future of ducks and duck hunting.

Early season ruffed grouse reports are mixed

Less than two weeks into the season, ruffed grouse hunting has been hit-or-miss, as heavy cover still hinders hunters.
Minnesota duck kill numbers up, but is it too high?

Minnesota duck kill numbers up, but is it too high?

Liberalized duck hunting regulations boosted harvest, but some fear that too many wood ducks are being killed.

State duck kill expected to be similar to last year; pheasant harvest could be up

DNR officials are unsure about hunter numbers.
Grouse revival might be underway

Grouse revival might be underway

Hunters are hopeful the state ruffed grouse population finally is on the upswing.

Heritage Council picks executive director

Mark Johnson, executive director of the Deer Hunters Association, was the choice.
Dove numbers high but few Minnesotans embrace the hunt

Dove numbers high but few Minnesotans embrace the hunt

Mourning doves taste good, some of the best wild game fare to be found, but few have pursued them since the Legislature reinstated dove hunting season in 2004.
Star of the North: Late-summer trek to BWCA is family tradition

Star of the North: Late-summer trek to BWCA is family tradition

The boundary waters shines like a beacon, drawing late-summer paddlers with loons, solitude and fried walleyes.
For Minnesotans, camping is rich tradition that is ever evolving

For Minnesotans, camping is rich tradition that is ever evolving

Minnesotans will flock to campgrounds this Labor Day weekend, continuing a beloved outdoors tradition with a long history and evolving future.

Survey: Angler numbers drop nationally, but women, Hispanics could boost numbers

The industry hopes to recruit more women and Hispanics.
State officials question federal duck harvest survey showing big drop in hunters

State officials question federal duck harvest survey showing big drop in hunters

Data says hunters in state dropped by 33 percent in 2013 — hard to believe.
Dispute erupts over hiring Outdoor Heritage executive director

Dispute erupts over hiring Outdoor Heritage executive director

State group spends $100 million on outdoors projects each year.
March 1: Legacy Council needs to find successor for its executive director

March 1: Legacy Council needs to find successor for its executive director

Executive Director Bill Becker is retiring from Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
New field guide to Minnesota's amphibians and reptiles

New field guide to Minnesota's amphibians and reptiles

Amphibians and reptiles aren’t the state’s most visible critters, but they make a great introduction to wildlife.
Smith: DNR says too many boaters still violating invasive species laws

Smith: DNR says too many boaters still violating invasive species laws

So far, conservation officers have issued 232 tickets and 516 warnings for AIS violations.

Satellite phones proving vital in wilderness

Satellite phone facilitated BWCA rescue, but everyone isn’t sold.
To boost deer herd, Minnesota hunters will face new rules this fall

To boost deer herd, Minnesota hunters will face new rules this fall

The deer harvest could dip as low as 120,000, the Department of Natural Resources said, less than half the 272,000 animals taken as recently as 2006.
Trapping debate goes a new direction

Trapping debate goes a new direction

Under hunting access program, landowners retain trapping rights; some aren’t happy about it.
Anglers avoiding Mille Lacs in record numbers

Anglers avoiding Mille Lacs in record numbers

An abundance of small perch for walleyes to munch on is the main reason for the absence of anglers at one of the state’s most popular fishing destinations.
State parks seek to change with the times

State parks seek to change with the times

Involving more young people and minority members is the goal.

Smith: Upper Red Lake was where action was

Fishing pressure was down because of the weather on many state lakes, but word got around that the fish were biting on Red Lake.
'Conservation grazing' use on the rise thanks to funding

'Conservation grazing' use on the rise thanks to funding

Officials hope livestock browsing of public wildlife lands improves habitat.
A mountain biking mecca

A mountain biking mecca

At Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, abandoned iron mines have been reinvented as a prime mountain biking destination.

Rain is a real pain for state's anglers

One of the wettest springs on record has inundated Minnesota’s lakes and rivers, ­causing some problems for anglers — and fish.
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