Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson has been a Star Tribune outdoors columnist since 1993, before which, for 13 years, he held the same position at the Pioneer Press. He enjoys casting and shooting. Dogs, too, and horses. Also kids and, occasionally, crusading in his column for improved conservation.

Posts about Environment

Wisconsin judge rules against Chippewa until Dec. 12 hearing

Posted by: Dennis Anderson Updated: November 28, 2012 - 4:25 PM

Below is Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp's statement following a federal judge's ruling Wednesday afternoon that prohibits Chippewa in that state from night hunting of deer with aid of a light, at least until a Dec. 12 hearing.

The Chippewa declared last week, through their Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, that beginning Monday their band members could hunt deer at night across the northern third of Wiscsonsin with aid of a light "at the point of kill.''.

The DNR  objected and filed suit, saying an earlier federal court ruling prohibited the practice, even though night hunting for coyotes is allowed by the state.

The latest conflict arose after the DNR also allowed night hunting for wolves beginning Monday with aid of a light "at the point of kill.''

Most Wisconsin Chippewa oppose the state's wolf hunt.

Here's Stepp's statement:

“This afternoon Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District Federal Court ruled that the State may enforce state shining laws against any Chippewa Tribal member hunting deer at night within the Ceded Territory (roughly the northern third of the state) until the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 and further order of the court. Chippewa Tribal members have been prohibited from night hunting/shining deer since 1990 in line with a 1989 federal court decision.

“The State is pleased that shining will be prohibited until such time as we can adequately address these issues within the appropriate court setting. We will continue to try to work with the Tribes to resolve this issue.”

Wisconsin wolf harvest at 38 after weekend

Posted by: Dennis Anderson Updated: October 29, 2012 - 11:46 AM

The Wisconsin wolf harvest has risen to 38 after a busy weekend in which seven animals were taken, two by foothold trap.

In all, 21 of the 38 animals were caught by traps — an indication how effective this method is compared to hunting.

Wolves taken in Wisconsin have been widely dispersed. Below, in order of animals killed, beginning on Oct. 15, the first day of the season, and ending Sunday, Oct. 28, is a list of counties where harvests have been recorded.



Poll: Hunter, angler concerns include global warming

Posted by: Dennis Anderson Updated: September 25, 2012 - 2:42 PM



Forty-two percent of hunters and anglers who consider themselves Republicans, and an even greater percentage who say they are ideologically conservative, agree with hunters and anglers of more independent and liberal persuasions that global warming is occurring and that the nation’s natural resources should be protected for future generations.

These and other findings of a nationwide poll conducted for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) were released Tuesday in an effort to inject conservation into discussions leading up to November’s local, state and national elections.

“Hunters and anglers have a strong desire to pass on this incredible (outdoor) legacy,’’ NWF supporter Theodore Roosevelt IV said in a conference call with reporters. “We want to encourage sportsmen to raise their hands and ask questions (of candidates) this fall.’’

A high percentage of hunters and anglers vote, the poll found, and while gun rights are important to them, natural resource conservation is also important.

NWF Minnesota spokesman Gary Botzek said the poll was conducted because, “We need to get (conservation) on candidates’ agenda, their radar screen. Now is the time to talk about our favorite issues, ranging from clean air to clean water to all of the hunting and fishing issues.’’

Kathleen Hadley, a NWF national board member from Montana, told reporters that warm weather in recent years has contributed to “turning our forests into tinder boxes.’’

“Ranchers are worried about feeding their livestock, and hay prices are out of sight,’’ she said. “We need to ask our political candidates to lay out their plans for wildlife and our public lands.’’

According to the poll:


• Most (59 percent) respondents believe global warming is occurring, and 66 percent agreed that, “We have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future.’’

• Most (57 percent) favor the government’s effort to limit carbon dioxide and other air pollutants that affect the public’s, and wildlife’s, health.

• A clear majority (87 percent) worry kids today don’t spend enough time outdoors.

• And 79 percent favor restoring clean water protections to smaller creeks, streams and wetlands — safeguards that were undercut by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The poll did not ask its 800 respondents where conservation fits among their hierarchy of political issues. Other polls have shown the economy dominates voters’ concerns.

In Minnesota, Botzek said, hunters and anglers were most recently politically energized in 2004 and 2008.

The constitutional right to hunt and fish passed in the earlier election, and approval of the Legacy Amendment followed four years later.

But neither hunters, anglers or other conservationists seem motivated this election cycle, despite big issues “left hanging’’ in Washington and St. Paul, Botzek said.

“On the federal level, the farm bill didn't’t get done, CRP is going away, and clean water legislation didn’t get done,’’ Botzek said. “Here in Minnesota, wetland protection needs to be strengthened, as do invasive species and drainage laws.’’
Conducted Aug. 27 through Sept. 1, the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

 The entire poll is available here.


Conservation wins: Mississippi Northwoods project completed

Posted by: Dennis Anderson Updated: September 15, 2012 - 11:46 PM

Years of work by various conservation groups, the Department of Natural Resources, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, Crow Wing County, the Legislature and Potlatch Corp. ended to wide acclaim Thursday when agreement was reached to protect 3 miles of Mississippi River shoreline and 2,000 acres of woods just north of Brainerd.

Called Mississippi Northwoods, the project concluded when the non-profit Trust for Public Land agreed to purchase the property for $11 million using Legacy Act money.

The land is expected to be transferred in the near future to Crow Wing County, which will manage it as a county forest open to multiple uses, including hunting.

A paved state trail might some day also be contained within the property.

The project overcame a number of obstacles, including the reconciliation of multiple appraisals that valued the property as high as $14 million.

In the end, the $11 million was agreed to by Potlatch.

“We’re delighted this spectacular piece of property will be protected after many, many years of work, considerable negotiations and great examples of leadership,’’ said Becca Nash, project manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The acquisition creates some 9 miles of protected shoreline when combined with nearby state trust land, county forest and a wildlife management area.

Fishing in the portion of the Mississippi River fronting the property can be excellent for largemouth bass among other species, and waterfowl hunters have used the area for decades to hunt ducks.

A series of DNR-sponsored Brainerd-area meetings held shortly after the Legacy Act was approved by voters in 2008 showed considerable support for protection of the land and shoreline.
Purchase of the property should close within two months.




Wolf hunt proposed in Michigan

Posted by: Dennis Anderson Updated: August 21, 2012 - 11:08 AM

A bill was introduced in Michigan last week to establish a wolf hunting season in that state.

If passed, Michigan would be the third Midwest state after Minnesota and Wisconsin to establish a wolf hunting season.

Reporter Agnieszka Spieszny of Outdoor Hub news says Michigan DNR Director Keith Creagh acknowledged in a visit to the state's Upper Peninsula that, "At the end of the day, there’s going to be a method of take and it’s the DNR’s opinion that you ought to be able to utilize hunters to help with depredation complaints in nuisance areas.”

The proposed legislation says, in part, that "“the sound scientific management of gray wolf populations in this state is necessary, including the use of hunting as a management tool, to minimize human and gray wolf encounters and to prevent gray wolves from threatening or harming humans, livestock and pets.''

Gray wolves in Michigan were delisted as  endangered  in January. Spieszney reports that proposed fees include a $100 wolf hunting license  for residents, $500 for non-residents and a $4 non-refundable permit application fee.



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