Staff Directory 10645191

Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4213
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Tony Kennedy is an outdoors writer covering Minnesota news about fishing, hunting, wildlife, conservation, camping, natural resource management, public land, forests and water.

T"A Minnesota native, Kennedy lives in the Twin Cities and on land surrounding a Driftless Area trout stream. Previously, he was an investigative reporter at the Star Tribune, an Associated Press newsman and a beat writer covering the environment, aviation, state politics and police. His journalism career started at Marquette University, a small-town newspaper in Indiana and The St. Cloud Times. Kennedy's wife is an inner-city kindergarten teacher and their two boys are crazy about hockey and the outdoors.
Recent content from Tony Kennedy
Boatload of boats: Alumacraft boats, above, will be among the more than 700 on display at the Minnapolis Boat Show. The four-day event attracts plenty

Minnesota boating's time to shine rolls around with four-day Boat Show

The four-day event has 700+ boats, 230 exhibitors and draws 38,000 to Convention Center
Erich Nell of Minneapolis watched as his stepsons Sullivan Maland, 6, and Harrison Maland, 9, tried fishing during a free event Jan. 11 at Fort Snelli

Bringing ice fishing to kids' level is goal again this winter

Weekend events are geared to getting young people into the action.
The Minnesota DNR’s new No Child Left Inside grant program is intended to get more kids doing activities outside

No Child Left Inside program offers grants for wide range of activities

The spanking new program recently announced its first 59 awards, including $5,000 for Pillager Public Schools to buy enough Nordic ski equipment to outfit a classroom.

CWD, lower walleye limit on agendas at Capitol

State lawmakers attuned to hunting and fishing will revisit chronic wasting disease (CWD) next month when they return to St. Paul
Steve Porter, left, and his son, Dillan, displayed a trophy deer, named Heart Attack, top, at Wisconsin Game Fest in September.

Sportsmen's Show on collision course with DNR over trophy buck exhibit

Minnesota deer farmer Steve Porter plans to bring his monster bucks to the Sportsmen's Show in defiance of an emergency rule against moving such deer.
The early burst of snow has ushered in an early start to the snowmobile season, with riders preparing their vehicles and attacking the trails early, t

Crush of snowmobile action amplifies sport's hazards and harms

December snowfalls that dumped 15 to 40 inches of snow across the state have magnified snowmobiling's safety hazards and harms while land damage and vehicle violations are mounting in eager snowmobilers' wake.
A truck leaves the Chippewa National Forest, in Cass County, Minn., with a load of logs

Wildlife advocates angling for control of the axe

Under a new statewide timber-cutting plan about to be implemented by the DNR, stately forests favored by fishers and other wild creatures will become choice "stands" for sale to Minnesota's wood products industry.

Four-year plans to increase habitat for ducks and pheasants released

DNR wants to help ducks and pheasants to thrive.
A massive trophy whitetail.

Chronic wasting disease creeping, not exploding in southeastern Minnesota's deer herd

No disease spike was seen, despite increased testing.

CWD detected on Douglas County deer farm

The announcement by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health didn't specify the location of the farm, but the finding is certain to introduce state-funded disease surveillance of the area's wild deer herd.

Wisconsin deer harvest plunges

Preliminary results from the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday indicate a whopping 25% drop in the state's overall deer harvest compared to a year ago.
First deer bring out smiles

First deer bring out smiles

Stories compiled by Dennis Anderson
A buck boasting a fantastical rack of antlers moved along a fence line at Autumn Antlers hunting preserve in Long Prairie. Such a buck could cost upwa

Chronic wasting disease puts Minnesota deer farms under fire

Fenced hunting preserves have become a flash point over who is to blame for the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Following procedure, Brian Beck (left) of Princeton, went over paperwork with DNR biologist Andy Tri (holding clipboard) while checking in two deer at

Deer hunting at a fast pace inside Minnesota's newest CWD zone

The DNR is diligently screening carcasses for chronic wasting disease during an expanded deer hunt.

Escaped buck from deer farm killed by bow hunter, chronic wasting disease test results pending

A 27-point trophy buck that escaped from an Olmsted County deer farm in April was killed by a bow hunter last week on public land near Elba, state officials confirmed Tuesday.
Are white-tailed deer susceptible to carrying a common farmland chemical in their systems? Research says it’s possible.

DNR study seeks farm chemical levels in wild deer

A DNR study, relying on hunters, will ascertain those rates in wild deer across the state
2020 Pheasant Stamp Competition * First Place: Mark Kness of albert lea, Minn.

Interest in duck stamps, and competitions, on the decline

The drastic downturn in enthusiasm for wildlife art has led to more than one conversation at the state DNR over whether the tradition of stamps and contests is worth keeping.
Wood ducks were prevalent in many parts of Minnesota on Saturday when the 2019 waterfowl season opened. Good thing, too, because blue-winged teal appe

Waterfowl expert: Duck opener didn't live up to expectations

"We hoped for a better opener,'' said Steve Cordts of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Bemidji. "I think it's going to be less than average statewide.''
This deer, found with others on private land near Rice, Minn., may have died of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a deer killer that has been preva

Minnesota confirms deer disease outbreak

Lab tests are underway will determine if a virus killed 20-plus wild deer in Stearns County
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 6, anglers will not be able to target walleye when fishing on Mille Lacs, the DNR said.

With limit reached, Mille Lacs walleye season to end in 10 days

The step was taken so state anglers don't exceed the safe walleye harvest level set for 2019. Winter walleye regulations are expected to be announced in November.
Loren Slette of Duluth removed a lake trout caught in 165 feet of water on Lake Superior. Fishing buddy Bruce Sederberg handled the net.

Calling long distance for lake trout on the North Shore

Lake Superior trout anglers go deep — up to 200 feet. The trout season on Lake Superior closes Oct. 6 to safeguard spawning. This year, it starts back up on Dec. 1.
An estimated 50-inch lake sturgeon from 2016, with DNR volunteer Kayla Stampfle in Falcon Heights.

Endangered species review won't stop sturgeon fishing in Minnesota

Even if lake sturgeon in Minnesota gain protected status under the Endangered Species Act, fishing for the ancient species in Minnesota has a strong chance to continue.
Sunfish, bluegills and crappies — collectively known as panfish — are the most sought-after finned species in Minnesota.

Simple summer fishing pleasure from a backroad bridge

Casting off a rural bridge yields loads of sunnies, memories.

Second look at BWCA lightning incident shows Girl Scouts' injuries initially understated

Clarifying details, recorded in the 911 command log kept by the Lake County Sheriff's Office and described by an official who helped field the original call, led a Scouts regional spokeswoman to apologize.
Minnesota will soon be unveiling its first new duck plan since 2006. Coupled with the release in September of a new pheasant plan, the document will b

New duck and pheasant plans emphasize benefits beyond hunting

Greg Hoch, primary author of the Pheasant Plan, said the reader-friendly plans are meant to widen support for duck and pheasant conservation.

Minnesota loses two more conservation officers to untimely death

Two tribal conservation officers from northern Minnesota have died this summer in separate incidents.
A loon on Lake Harriet.

Minnesota DNR calls for loon watch after uptick in suspicious deaths

West Nile virus has been confirmed in two dead loons, and is suspected in others.
Bob "Sandy" Sanderson, back, landed a wild brown trout in the Root River in 2018. The vast majority of southeast Minnesota trout streams have been unf

'It's water, water, water.' Muddy creek blues hamper trout fishing

A DNR spokeman said virtually all cold-water streams were at zero visibility 10 days or so ago. But a dry period over the long July 4th weekend helped clear things up.
Aaron Hobbs of the Twin Cities area was helped during the fishing opener on Upper Red Lake in May by his son, Erik, 3, as together they showed off one

Upper Red Lake's relaxed walleye bag limit could be fleeting

Change considered by DNR would affect the winter season.
Joe Kennedy, wearing a mosquito head net, skips rocks onto Sawbill Lake from a campsite on the lake’s north end. On his first trip ever to the Bound

'I like waking up here': Seeing the BWCA through the eyes of a 12-year-old

On a first-ever trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, chores don't seem like work and simple pleasures don't go unnoticed.

Minnesota high school anglers take on the nation in Alabama event

Minnesota teams pursue $2 million in scholarships.

Metro waters receding, but know rules before you flow

Some closures, restrictions will remain in place while levels drop.
A smallmouth bass caught on a popper cast by a fly rod on the St. Croix River.

Bass fishing booms in Minnesota: 'It's really going gangbusters'

Zero fanfare surrounded the opening day of Minnesota's bass harvest Saturday, but smallmouth and largemouth anglers are carrying on in larger numbers year after year.

Wonders of fishing surprise visitors to Pop-up Bait Shop

The summer touring mission of the colorful 8-by-12 shack and summer tour, open again this weekend at Bde Maka Ska/Lake Calhoun, is to create surprise moments to introduce urban youth and young adults to fishing.
Wood debris, such as broken trees, has come under fire as a less-than-durable material for fortifying banks and preventing trout-stream erosion.

Stream rehabilitators note eroding banks, blame overuse of wood debris

Minnesota is wasting millions of dollars on trout habitat projects in the Driftless Area by forcing contractors to use woody debris instead of rock to protect stream banks that are washing out in spectacular fashion, a pair of rehabbers say.
Walleye fishing was extremely slow Saturday morning in the southeastern corner of Mille Lacs. Veterans of the lake blamed cold water termperatures tha

Cold water deactivates walleyes in windy fishing opener

In many areas, the bite is expected to pick up with a warm week of weather.
The Trophy Woods Ranch near Merrifield, Minn., included 102 deer, some mules, like the one above, and some white-tailed.

Dead deer and more CWD found at pay-for-hunt ranch in Crow Wing County

Animal health officials found 13 decomposed deer at Trophy Woods Ranch in Crow Wing County last month, the Board of Animal Health said today.
Two new Minnesota walleye studies are out and one of them states that food for tiny walleyes has been reduced by as much as 50 percent in lakes infect

Deep dive on Mille Lacs emphasizes downside of water clarity

Mille Lacs is relatively shallow despite its massive surface area, which can cause problems when the water gets clearer, according to a university researcher.
Joey Kolpin, water craft inspector, looks for evidence of invasive species on a boat leaving Christmas Lake in Shorewood in 2015.

Invasive species pilot project in Annandale in trouble

Even though the pilot project is not funded by the DNR, it requires the agency's approval if changes are made from year to year.
David Whitescarver of Golden Valley battled for 25 minutes last week on the Rainy River to catch his first-ever lake sturgeon — a 56-inch monster es

Early spring fishing on Rainy River is prime time with primitive fish

In the weeks leading up to the walleye opener, beast of a fish is main attraction on the Rainy River
Young turkey hunters, including those with mentors, and women could use .410 shotguns in Minnesota for wild turkey hunting under bills being considere

Youth-friendly .410 shotguns gaining favor for wild turkey hunting

Bills allowing young hunters to use lighter guns to hunt wild turkeys are moving ahead
Biologists studying the spread of CWD have feared that the disease in captive deer will spread to the wild in places like Crow Wing County.

All deer at Crow Wing County deer farm euthanized in deal to contain CWD

USDA paid owner of deer farm an undisclosed sum.

Ice out on state's lakes progressing better than last year

This year's May 11 fishing opener is still four weeks away, and the eight- to 14-day weather outlook is calling for normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.
Members of the Wayzata High school trap shooting team practiced with the Plymouth police department in 2016.

Proposed Minnesota gun bill has been modified to ease shooting sports concerns

Originally, the bill's language seemed to apply to all firearms transfers, even exchanges between family members and hunting companions.
Billy King of Pryor, Okla., caught a 13-pound, 9.1-ounce whitefish — a potential new Minnesota state record for the species — his first time ice f

Oklahoma man catches 13-pound-plus whitefish on first ice fishing trip

The broad-backed fish broke Billy King's line, but remained wedged in the hole.
Ed Boggess was Minnesota DNR Fish and Wildlife director from 2011-16.

Hunt is on for new Minnesota fish and wildlife director

Next DNR fish and wildlife boss needs wisdom, experience, passion, savvy, vision, etc.

Lasting ice on Lake Superior made for memorable fishing

Longer freeze let anglers enjoy a "unique flash fishery."
The proposed National Loon Center in Crosslake, Minn., continues to clear development hurdles for eventual construction on lakeside property controlle

Outlook for Loon Center in Crosslake looks encouraging

The year-round, $10 million center in Crosslake would open in 2022 if remaining fundraising and land acquisition barriers can be successfully overcome.

DNR selling surplus of premier season turkey hunting licenses

The first shots of the seven-day "A" season will be fired April 17. The "B" season harvest runs April 24-30.
Warrior didn’t survive the Great Recession, but the boat-production company was revived in 2011 and is currently owned by a trio of passionate walle

Warrior ready to break the ice with release of first new boat model in years

Warrior is gearing up for spring, its first new model release in three years.
Wolves were hunted and trapped in Wisconsin and Michigan, along with Minnesota, beginning in 2013. A federal court ruling stopped the hunts after 2014

A return to wolf hunting in Minnesota?

Wolves currently are hunted in the northern Rockies, but ended in Minnesota ended after the 2014 season after a decision by the courts.
The new online reservations for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness returned Monday, but critics said the first-come, first-serve system is not

Boundary Waters online reservation returns, but frustrations with it remain

Outfitters, resort owners, guides and residents of canoe country say the online computer system still has flaws.
As the sun set over Moon Lake in the BWCA, the last canoe was ready to be portaged over a hilly trail leading to East Bearskin Lake, which lies partia

Forest Service relaunches BWCA reservation system after problems

The online reservation system used by the Forest Service failed this season when it first went live on Jan. 30. The crash prompted an outpouring of complaints from resorts, outfitters, wilderness guides and other business people who rely on BWCA traffic for business.
Woods surrounding the State Veterans Cemetery in Preston are a known hot spot for CWD-positive deer but the DNR has been unable to gain access to thos

Minnesota's CWD fight stymied by county board and veterans cemetery

The denials have come from Fillmore County and the State Veterans Cemetery in Preston. A cemetery spokeswoman and the county board's chairman said the woods are off limits to federal wildlife sharpshooters.
A bill advancing in the state Senate seeks to establish an advisory group made up of citizens and legislators to improve walleye fishing in Minnesota

Minnesota legislators consider new investment in DNR fish restocking

State legislators are working on a plan to improve hatcheries.
Outfitters were upset with the U.S. Forest Service over the new online reservation system, and warned the agency that the first-come, first-served app

BWCA reservation system crash threw fuel on already contentious permit changes

Popular lottery was ended in process of building new online system.
FILE -- A walleye is netted, caught on the Twin Pines Resort boat at sunset Wednesday, July 29, 2015, during an evening excursion on Lake Mille Lacs.

Mille Lacs anglers will be able to keep some walleyes this year

DNR and tribal biologists say the lake's walleye population is showing signs of recovery.
Darren Troseth, 45, of Jordan, holding the sturgeon with help from his fishing buddy, John Kimble of Prior Lake, wearing the headlamp.

Long battle lands record-setting 120-pound sturgeon on the St. Croix

Likely to go down as Minnesota's largest record fish of any kind, the ancient-looking sturgeon was 6 feet 6 inches long, 29 inches around and weighed about 120 pounds.

Officers find Mille Lacs rife with over-fishing, drugs

The special enforcement this winter resulted in 146 citations and 213 warnings, the DNR said. Twenty percent of the writeups dealt with keeping fish illegally.
About 2,000 people filled the Montana Capitol in Helena for a rally on Jan. 11 to urge state and federal lawmakers to protect public lands. A similar

Rally for Minnesota public lands set for Thursday at State Capitol

Many groups plan to gather Thursday at State Capitol in support of protecting BWCA, wilderness
The permit process switched to a new national website. It was to begin Wednesday morning.

Updated BWCA reservations system opens — and quickly crashes

Outfitters had complained loudly about changes to the system this year and warned supervisors at the U.S. Forest Service about some potential pitfalls.
Sarah Strommen, the new commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, said she expects to name the first of her managerial team as soon as this

Strommen close to filling DNR leadership positions

At the annual DNR Roundtable held in Bloomington earlier this month, the new commissioner announced that Bob Meier and Barb Naramore will continue to have roles in the commissioner's office.
The Sea-Doo Fish Pro 155 is aimed at anglers who want something less complicated than a boat that’s high-powered, hassle-free and suitable for solo

New to the boat show: A jet ski for fishing

Sea-Doo's jet-powered craft is fast, nimble and meant for solo outings; it sells for $14,799.
The right firearm can turn deer hunting into a lifetime passion for young people.

Young hunters need to start with right firearm for them

Finding the right firearm for a young hunter is a key step in boosting overall participation in Upper Midwest hunting seasons. Choosing a gun with the right fit, low recoil and high impact will make the experience a lasting draw to the outdoors.
So that more ring-necked pheasants can be found in Minnesota’s snow-covered cornfields, the state Department of Natural Resources last week signed a

Minnesota Pheasant Action Plan hits next phase with ups and downs

Amid mixed success, 4-year-old statewide action plan comes up for renewal with aim to improve
An aspen and pine forest off a hiking trail in Lake Vermilion State Park.

New wood harvest goals still leave surplus of mature aspen

Mature aspen must go, but the DNR is afraid other interests will suffer.
Barbara Keller will leave the Missouri Department of Conservation to run Minnesota's deer, elk and moose program for the DNR. She starts Feb. 1

Missouri's deer and elk supervisor answers Minnesota's call of the wild

A Q&A with Barbara Keller, who will start Feb. 1 at the Department of Natural Resources as the state's new big game program supervisor.
Sarah Strommen answered questions from reporters after she was appointed DNR commissioner by Gov.-elect Tim Walz on Thursday.

Minnesota's new DNR commissioner 'gets things done'

Sarah Strommen, the former mayor of Ramsey, is a lake cabin-owning fishing enthusiast and the first woman to hold the post of Minnesota DNR Commissioner.
Known both for their enthusiasm and edginess, the Hard Water Zombies now make ice safety gear a priority and reinforce safe angling practices on their

Ice fishing group Hard Water Zombies pushes safety-first message after deaths

A popular Minnesota ice fishing page on Facebook clung to an edgy, fearless style. But 13 months ago, two key members of the group drowned during a November outing on Upper Red Lake
This healthy-looking buck showed up in the middle of the night on Luke Ihrke’s trail camera a couple of weeks before the firearms hunting season in

'Would you eat it?': CWD invades Minnesota family's hunting tradition

Unbeknown to Ihrke's family, chronic wasting disease (CWD) was lurking in their woods. Hunting on 320 acres, the clan shot a dozen deer. Along the way, they treated themselves to meals of fresh tenderloins.

Ice conditions around state called tricky by conservation officers

A sustained period of freezing temperatures jump-started Minnesota's ice fishing season this year, but the weekend deaths of two fishermen northwest of Little Falls underscored observations from around the state that ice conditions are tricky.
Jenna Bettschen hunted during the Minnesota muzzleloader season last year.

Minn. firearms deer season never fully recovers from slow start

Minnesota's muzzleloader deer season surpassed low expectations with a harvest of nearly 6,000 deer through Wednesday, up 11.5 percent from the same period last year.
Deer head drop boxes like this one in southeastern Minnesota have become a fixture during recent deer hunts, as the DNR tries to determine the prevale

CWD found in deer outside of Minnesota's outbreak zone

The discovery was announced a day after stepped-up program to curtail the disease.
Deer head drop boxes like this one in southeastern Minnesota have become a fixture during recent deer hunts, as the DNR tries to determine the prevale

Minn. DNR intensifies fight vs. CWD, considers paying deer bounties

Two special hunts were announced for later this month, and the DNR said federal sharpshooters will be hired to supplement the extra harvest.
"I was so physically exhausted I thought I was going to throw up," conservation officer Kipp Duncan said of last Tuesday's 30-minute battle with a you

Doe prances on pool table before wardens free it from Duluth-area home

Two conservation officers were forced into a marathon tag-team wrestling match with a deer that broke through a window and got trapped in the basement.