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

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,
Two whitetail deer along the Minnesota River in 2013.

Farm deer escapes concern DNR because of chronic wasting disease

The DNR has complained that the Board of Animal Health is too cozy with deer farmers to ideally protect the state's invaluable wild deer herd from infected game farm deer.
As turkey hunters prepare to head to the woods next week in Minnesota, they and others spending time outdoors need to take precautions against disease

Fighting back against tick bites

Simple precautions, awareness outdoors can thwart diseases.
A new study of Wisconsin lakes echoes what some other studies have said: Walleye production in some northern areas is in serious trouble. Wisconsin’

Wisconsin walleye have hit a wall, study finds

Study of 473 lakes finds alarming trend of decline in fish productivity over past few decades
Some of Minnesota's Wildlife Management Areas aren't well-known, but they are idyllic spots to hunt, fish, hike and observe wildlife.

State public lands that are often-overlooked pockets of wild for adventure

Whether you hunt, birdwatch, hike or fish, there are Wildlife Management Areas in Minnesota to check out. Here are seven.
Geese fly off into the sky

High in the sky is the limit for early spring snow geese

Hunters may take as many snow geese as they can shoot, but wary birds keep harvest to a minimum.
Fish caught during ice fishing

Minn. Fishing Hall of Fame enshrines 3

Rainy Lake fishing guide Bill Dougherty, lure maker Mark Fisher and outdoor media specialist Mark Strand were inducted this month into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame along with two private companies.
Fishing at the mouth of the French River, along Minnesota’s North Shore, three anglers tried their luck for Kamloops, a type of rainbow trout. The o

End of the line for Kamloops rainbow trout on Lake Superior

After years of stocking, the trout species will soon vanish from Lake Superior
The same Hells Canyon Helicopter seen here in pursuit of a deer in South Dakota is at work in southeastern Minnesota this week. The DNR wants GPS coll

Helicopter crew netting deer in Fillmore County in state's fight against CWD

The DNR has hired a helicopter to help collar deer in the race to limit chronic wasting disease before it's too late.
Monarch butterflies have suffered population declines that perhaps could be reversed with more Minnesota roadsides managed for wildlife. ORG XMIT: MIN

Stuck in a ditch over roadside maintenance

Farmers, environmentalists and legislators struggle to solve roadside upkeep.
A DNR crew prepared to clear woody encroachment at the Ney and Bradshaw Wildlife Management Area in Scott County.

Conservation groups make point: Sometimes trees have to go

Grassland needs the room, but concept evades many.
Drop boxes like this one have become a fixture in recent years in southeastern Minnesota with the rise of CWD.

Winona County chronic wasting disease case marred by regulatory failure

Winona County CWD case marred by regulatory failures, with fallout expected for deer hunters.
In 1995, the DNR started performing at-the-ramp boat inspections, above, on Lake Minnetonka to thwart invasive species (AIS). This year, a new project

New Wright County boat-inspection program facing criticism

Critics calling Wright County plan inconvenient, inefficient.
A great grey owl hunted for food Feb. 16, 2018, in the Sax-Zim Bog.

DNR wants birding and wildlife trail through Sax-Zim Bog

The expansive Sax-Zim Bog, located an hour northwest of Duluth, would anchor a proposed corridor of at least six northern Minnesota communities.
DNR fish geneticist Loren Miller studies Minnesota walleyes and other fish to better understand their origins and to provide valuable information to f

DNR researcher studies fish gene pools to repopulate state lakes

DNR's Loren Miller's research on walleyes, other fish steers stocking choices
A Minnesota sheriff’s deputy looking “to shoot a quick doe” has felt the brunt of the state’s crackdown on deer baiting.

Accusation in Minnesota of hunting over deer bait is closely watched

Officer Timothy Michael Bennett pleaded not guilty earlier this month and is positioned to fight the DNR's charge, a misdemeanor.
A half-dozen whitetail deer congregated just outside of Chatfield in southeast Minnesota, an area the DNR wants to intensively manage to minimize the

DNR warns CWD is still a threat in Minnesota

Landowners in affected hunting areas aren't taking Chronic Wasting Disease seriously, a state official with the DNR warns.
Permits to use motorboats at several of the busiest BWCA entry points will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis in 2019.

Looming end of motorboats lottery in BWCA alarms some outfitters

The Forest Service will take BWCA applications on a first-come basis in 2019, irking some.
Walleye management techniques on Mille Lacs have been affirmed by a panel of four outside experts who reviewed the practices and compared them favorab

Mille Lacs walleye community dissatisfied with review of lake management that found no flaws

But outside experts' review criticized as "superficial" by walleye community leader.
Wolves naturally prey on moose herds, but wolf populations shrink when fewer moose calves are available to feed on.

Examining the complex coexistence of wolves, moose

Study shows wolf population dwindles when area lacks moose calves as prey
A Vistabule teardrop camper.

Small-sized is big on the current RV landscape; Minnesotans are on board

Compact camper sales are powering fast-growing RV segment.
Novice pheasant hunter Ben Matthys, left, held a rooster shot by his mentor, Megan Howell, on a Walk-In Access site near Slayton, Minn. Howell, of Phe

Hunting program that makes private hunting land public nears its goal

Program that makes private hunting land public is gaining traction, nearing its original goal
“Wheel houses” come in all shapes and sizes, from a small structure, above, to the 30-foot long “King’s Castle” selling for $43,500 sold by

Boom in 'wheel house' sales means more ice anglers

More people, including families, are using them for longer ice fishing stays.

Heinrich named first full-time Mille Lacs fisheries supervisor

The large lake specialist who helped cover Lake of the Woods in his previous DNR assignment is the first person to hold that newly created position.
Asset preservation: The DNR’s top legislative agenda item this year is a bonding request for $130 million to start fixing a backlog of maintenance o

DNR commissioner faces challenging landscape

The DNR is fighting dwindling conservation acreage, aging infrastructure and other hurdles
Lexi Ruggles, above, a member of the Brainerd High School fishing team, held a bass she caught during a 2017 tournament on Gull Lake. Below a boat cap

Fishing enthusiasts bait state high school league for bass-fishing event

A pro angler and a fishing coach want the league as a partner in a season-ending bass fishing event.
Turkey hunters

Those interested in early turkey season lottery need to apply by Jan. 26

Minnesota's spring turkey hunters have until Friday, Jan. 26, to apply for a lottery permit to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season when licenses are in greatest demand.
Antique and classic boats will be on display once again at this year’s Minneapolis Boat Show, Thursday through Sunday at the Minneapolis Convention

Classic crafts cruise on at Minneapolis Boat Show

Minneapolis Boat Show's antique models attract visitors and generates waves of new interest
Weather cooperated this fall during the Minnesota duck season, and some hunters found more birds than they have in recent years. But the number of duc

Ducks were plentiful, but hunters few this season around Minnesota

Duck hunting season gave state hunters plenty of targets. But the number of people in the field hit an all-time low, according to license sales.
(From left) Gavin Lagro, 12; Kale Flemming, 11; and Henry Lagro, 11, shot antlerless deer within an hour of each other in northern Wisconsin.

Minnesota deer harvest rises 15 percent because of abundance, eased regulations

Deer hunters have taken 190,000 deer statewide starting with the archery season, continuing through the regular firearms season and now into the muzzleloader season.
Above, a loon flew along Kimball Lake near Crosslake.

Inside the push for a new center for loons in Minnesota

Funding sought, momentum builds for National Loon Center in Crosslake.
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