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
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.
Young turkey hunters, including those with mentors, and women could use .410 shotguns in Minnesota for wilde turkey hunting under bills being consider

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

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.

CWD called persistent problem among deer by state wildlife officials

Ten new cases of chronic wasting disease and another "suspected'' case have cropped up this year, including in two male deer located outside the designated outbreak zone that encompasses Fillmore County.
Jim Brandenburg’s Touch the Sky Prairie is part of a project to maintain, restore and protect healthy, native tallgrass prairie.

Nature photographer Jim Brandenburg helps preserve his corner of Minnesota tallgrass prairie

A nature photographer's gem — part of a larger prairie preservation plan — is a priority for public land managers.

CWD detected again in Minnesota pay-to-hunt deer facility

The disease-troubled captive deer facility in Crow Wing County that poses a threat to the area's wild deer population has once again tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced late last week.

Minnesota deer harvest off to a slow, perplexing start

The two-day harvest of 62,957 deer was 14.5 percent below last year's opening weekend total of 73,759.
When the Minnesota firearms deer season opens Saturday morning, whitetails such as this one will incite “buck fever’’ among hunters lucky enough

Outlook better for hunters this deer firearms season

Projections call for at least a 10 percent increase in the deer harvest over last season.
Minnesota firearms deer hunters will soon have in their sights trophy white-tailed bucks in the rut like this one.

Pondering the mystery of hunting the deer rut in Minnesota

Ever wonder why Minnesota's firearms deer season coincides with the rut? Friends of the late Ed Chilgren — a state politician who championed the outdoors starting with his first election in 1926 — can explain.
Three duck hunters aimed at blue-winged teal on Pelican Lake on the 2016 duck opener. The Wright County lake is improving for waterfowl hunting partly

Ducks returning to Pelican Lake as habitat improves

Its water level is being gradually lowered, increasing vegetation that attracts waterfowl
Pheasant hunters from Rock County gathered late last week for the dedication of Rooster Ridge, Minnesota’s newest wildlife management area. A farmer

In Rock County, farmers taketh and giveth when it comes to pheasant habitat

Rock County, where farming has crowded out birds, gains some land dedicated to them
Rodney Lowe, in the company of retrievers, showed off a rooster taken during the first 90 minutes of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener on Satur

Despite Mark Dayton's absence, Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener celebrates tradition

Luverne basks in success of the Governor's Opener, this time without the governor.
Whitetail buck illustration, for Outdoors Weekend

Calculus of sport: What hunters have to consider — species to species — before their fall seasons

Hunters each fall gauge prospects for success against time and cost required.
“Back Forty Pheasants’’ by Twin Cities wildlife artist Jim Hautman illustrates a period now long past when shelterbelts, fencelines and abandone

Habitat for pheasants keeps shrinking

Farms are not offering as much cover for game birds as they once did, and Conservation Reserve Program acreage is falling.
Taxidermist Robert Utne made an instructional video for the DNR to teach hunters how to comply with the carcass import ban.

Minnesota's archery deer hunt quickly detects another case of CWD

The finding, announced Monday, renewed public attention on the state's ongoing, multifaceted fight against the spread of CWD. Thousands of more deer will be sampled.
Michael Sieve at home on Daley Creek, a designated trout stream he cares for with continuous improvement of its banks.

Meet an all-around outdoorsman: Sieve hunts and paints wildlife, cares about habitat

He once received the state's forest stewardship award.

Hunters find success during duck opener, but participation falls to record low

Steve Cordts, waterfowl staff specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the dip in participation is in keeping with an overall languishing trend in the sport throughout the Upper Midwest.
One of the favorite ducks of Minnesota wildlife artist David Maass — and of state duck hunters — is the blue-winged teal, as portrayed here in his

Blue-winged teal never fail to turn heads during Minnesota's duck opener

These ducks are a highly sought game because they are so tasty and challenging to shoot.
Trevor Unruh, left, Riley Mcalpine and Ryder Beckman drew down on a few blue-winged teal at the opener of the 2016 Minnesota duck season. The three we

Minnesota duck hunters have reason to believe this year

The DNR hopes a shift to cooler weather will contribute to a set of conditions that's already favorable in many areas.
A ruffed grouse drumming on a log in Itasca State Park.

Lost season leaves Minnesota grouse hunters with a hangover

The state's ruffed grouse season opens Saturday. But birds were scarce in 2017 with an assortment of theories about what went wrong.
Gov. Mark Dayton hunting pheasant in 2011.

Governor's Pheasant Opener banquet set for Luverne, and you're invited

Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesotans to join him Oct. 12.
Brad Parsons, who has worked for the DNR since 1987, showed off a Lake Mille Lacs smallmouth bass during fish population field research last spring.

Mille Lacs among the issues Brad Parsons will take on as Minnesota's new fisheries chief

More than 1 million anglers will look to new fisheries chief for results
Amanda Lom.

Last splash: Trophy Tales takes break until next spring

The last installment of this season's fish catches shows off a variety of memories.

Woods, marshes, ponds, prairies opening once again to Minnesota hunters

Geese, bears, doves, crows, snipe and rail are fair game, and more is ahead.
Fisheries supervisor Cory Goldsworthy, left, helped put the new boat on the trailer.

Sleek, new DNR fisheries boat -- the Blackfin -- is all-around upgrade

From decking to puller, work boat is cutting edge.
Charges: Naked jet skiers on Gull Lake were "offensive, abusive, noisy, obscene''

Charges: Naked jet skiers on Gull Lake were "offensive, abusive, noisy, obscene''

"Why they chose to take their trunks off, I have no idea,'' a state conservation officer said.
Carrol Henderson, who will retire soon from the DNR, was responsible for the largest release ever of trumpeter swans into the wild during his tenure a

Henderson, ecologist who built DNR's non-game wildlife program, was expert collaborator

The retiring DNR supervisor sums up a career he is about to end.
Travis Mears of Texas promises to thrill Game Fair crowds in Ramsey starting next weekend with loads of trick shots he has developed over two decades

Texas shotgunner aims to amaze Game Fair crowds with loads of tricks

Texas trick shot artist makes a life of entertaining crowds with his mastery of the shotgun.
These are the crappies taken from a couple in southern Minnesota after an anonymous tip earlier this year.

Couple from southern Minnesota busted for 253 crappies over limit

They were caught with 273 crappies in their possession after exploiting a hot bite on Fairmont's Lake Sisseton.
Former DNR regional chief Lori Dowling-Hanson didn’t see the backlash coming when she made a 911 call about possible child neglect and sex trafficki

Former DNR regional chief Dowling-Hanson preparing to sue over her dismissal

Job protections as a DNR political appointee are next to nil, but Lori Dowling-Hanson believes her ouster was fallout from trying to protect a child — something supporters say she was mandated to do.
Eric Hexom signs the fishing license Joanne Rousseau provided him at Ebner's Live Bait in Elk River last July.

State fishing license sales lowest in five years, second lowest since 2000

Through the weekend after July 4th, the DNR sold 805,242 fishing licenses of all kinds. That was down about 41,000 licenses, or 4.8 percent, from the same period a year ago.
An illustration by Jack Ohman from “An Inconvenient Trout,’’ one of his fly fishing humor books.

Trout streams run parallel to political cartooning career of Minnesota's Ohman

Jack Ohman's experiences learning fly fishing in Minnesota have become a fountain of outdoors satire for the political cartoonist.
Longtime Brainerd-Nisswa area fishing guide Marv Koep, left, in 2015.

Fishing tips from guides in the know

Anglers should be out in force this holiday week.
After biologists discovered a large drop in male walleye populations in Lake of the Woods, the DNR, seeking to curb that trend, has proposed lower bag

Tighter seasonal bag limits being considered on Lake of the Woods

"Something needs to get done here,'' said Phil Talmage, Lake of the Woods area fisheries supervisor for the DNR. "These changes are being considered to maintain long-term sustainability.''
Various bodies of water in the Twin Cities area — the gathering above happened at Wolfe Lake in St. Louis Park — offer the sort of fishing that wi

A Top 10 list of Twin Cities fishing ponds for Father's Day

DNR promotes "Fishing in the Neighborhood."
Fishing at sunset on Lake of the Woods.

Reduced walleye, sauger bag limits in the offing for Lake of the Woods

DNR considers sustainability plan for walleye and sauger.

Many top Minnesota walleye lakes resilient to changes in water condition

Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake and Red Lake each have physical features that should make their walleye populations more resilient.
Wild brown trout were rising to dry flies on a recent trip to Minnesota’s Driftless region, where 83-year-old Bob “Sandy” Sanderson took a trip

Lifetime fly fisherman remembers

Bob Sanderson, 83, insists trout fishing is better than it ever was.
Biologists Keith Reeves, left and Josh Blankenheim pulled lake trout from Lake Superior for close inspection, below, during an annual DNR spring popul

DNR celebrates success of restoring trout to Lake Superior

The turnaround — 50 years in the making — was capped less than a year ago when the Department of Natural Resources fully reopened the native species to commercial fishing.
Don Pereira and son Leo spent some quality time with each other and a 52-inch muskie on Lake Vermilion in July 2014. More time together is ahead for t

For 35 years as Minn. fisheries chief, science was Pereira's guide

Pereira turns 60 in August, but he has 35 years of experience at the DNR. He wants to spend more time with his wife, Lyn, and son, Leo.
The Minnesota DNR reported on Thursday that fishing license sales are picking up steam in advance of Saturday's opener.

With no time to spare, ice-outs unlock the Minnesota fishing opener

The last-minute ice-outs on Leech Lake, Kabetogama, Winnibigoshish, Pokegama, Upper Red Lake and Lake Vermilion provide a boost, as does the latest forecast.
A crew from Carp Solutions netted more than 1,300 carp last summer from Lake Owasso as part of a multi-year project to reduce a growing infestation of

As interest in management of common carp populations grows, so does Carp Solutions

Removing them to improve water quality is the name of the game for this upstart business.
Drop boxes like this have become a fixture during recent deer hunts in parts of Minnesota.

State report: Lax oversight of deer and elk farmers needs fixing

The report recommended that the Board of Animal Health should more closely oversee deer and elk farmers, as well as strengthen consequences for those who don't comply with state rules,
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