Staff Directory 10645191

Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Outdoors
phone: 612-673-4213
Tony Kennedy covers the outdoors for the Star Tribune. Previously he had been an investigative reporter since 2002, starting with a probe of the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone. His work includes a 2012 collection of stories on executive compensation at the University of Minnesota; a four-part series on judicial penalties against BNSF Corp.; and an examination of factors leading to the collapse of the I-35W Bridge.
Recent content from Tony Kennedy
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.
This whitetail buck was harvested Sunday by a hunter near Lanesboro, Minn., inside the state’s special disease management zone for chronic wasting d

Mystery surrounds wild buck adorned with ear tags reading 'Don't Miss'

State law enforcement officials are looking for the person or persons who apparently played a prank on deer hunters around Lanesboro.
Ten-year-old Evan Pommier, hunting just north of the Twin Cities, shot his first deer last week, a 4-point buck, while afield with hs father. Youth as

Too young to hunt deer? Not in Wisconsin

Under legislation that Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign into law this week, kids of any age will be allowed to hunt deer and carry their own gun when accompanied by an adult.
Drier weather and less standing corn helped Minnesota hunters register 145,054 deer through the second weekend of the gun season.

Minnesota deer hunters on pace to harvest 15 percent more whitetails

The harvest surged after a slow start, reaching a mark 10 percent higher than last year's showing.
Hunters Joe Heckman of Chicago, left, and Mike Ward of St. Paul worked their way through a field of planted rows of trees, grass and shrubs on a priva

South Dakota's 2017 pheasant collapse extends to lands groomed for holding birds

A party of 10 bagged only 30 roosters on managed farmland in South Dakota
During the whitetail rut, which peaks in Minnesota within a few days of Nov. 10, bucks roam far and wide looking for does ready to breed, making it ea

Should deer season be delayed to better protect the bucks?

Since 1959, the Minnesota firearms deer season has opened on the Saturday nearest Nov. 6, linking it to the short window of time when bucks make themselves most vulnerable to ambush.

Search starts to find site for world-class shooting range

The Department of Natural Resources has officially kicked off the process for finding a location to potentially build a world-class shooting range and clubhouse to be used by state high school trapshooters and to attract other statewide, regional, national or international events.
It’s illegal for hunters to use bait to attract deer in Minnesota, but despite the law, it continues to be a significant problem.

Busted: Deer hunters nailed most often for baiting

Hunting over bait was the single most common bust during last year's Minnesota deer season. Nearly 200 citations were issued and another 56 hunters received warnings.
As another firearms deer season nears, health officials are pondering a Canadian study that indicates chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to pr

Health officials adjust advice to hunters regarding chronic wasting disease

New evidence about chronic wasting disease leads health officials to reconsider their advice
Pheasant hunters and their dogs might have a hard time spotting birds in South Dakota when the season opens there Saturday. Estimates suggest there wi

On brink of pheasant season, South Dakota bracing for reduced bag

Birds are even scarce in the hotbed of Mobridge, but state still boasts it has more birds than anyplace else.

Minnesota game bird hunters finding little to shoot

Game wardens across the state's pheasant range reported strong participation in many areas, but sparse results.
This scene will be repeated throughout Minnesota farm country Saturday when hunters seek birds on the opening day of the pheasant season.

DNR wildlife researcher Davros working to help upland birds thrive

Nicole Davros, a DNR wildlife researcher, is looking for ways to increase pheasant populations. "I know our numbers look down," Davros said. "But I'm optimistic for the next five years."
A dozen trophy whitetails are mounted on one side of Terry Krahn’s living room in rural Pine Island. The rest of the room is equally crowded with bi

Passionate bowhunter Krahn: 'Every one is a trophy'

Terry Krahn's passion for bowhunting deer started early, and hasn't waned
Three projects to improve the habitat for ruffed grouse, above, and woodcock are under way, one in the southeastern corner, two in northern Minnesota.

Trio of landscaping projects for birds include visions for SE Minnesota

Three projects are underway to improve habitat for grouse, woodcock.

DNR picks new leader for deer plan as deadline approaches

Leslie McInenly named to take the plan to the finish.
Jeremy Maslowski of Tower, Minn., unhooked a walleye caught on Lake Vermilion while trolling crankbaits with lead core fishing line.

For luring walleyes, try lead core fishing lines

Fall fishing with lead-core line proves a worthy alternative.
In “Windswept Bay’’ by David A. Maass, two bull canvasbacks led a parade of bluebills advancing on a hunter’s point — once a common scene in

Hunting bluebills still thrilling despite their scarcity

But veterans of the pursuit lament the shortage of birds in Minnesota — 'It's just a shame'

Grouse leverage greenery to their advantage in hunting season opener

Game wardens across Minnesota's grouse-hunting range witnessed a decent effort but scant success last weekend during the season opener for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse and Northwest Zone sharptailed grouse.
Cormorants on a stony point on one end of Little Pelican Island in Leech Lake.

Wildlife managers seek to regain authority to kill problem cormorants

Fish and Wildlife officials looking to reverse ruling to allow culling of birds deemed destructive.
A small walleye is pulled in on the Twin Pines Resort boat in 2015 during an evening excursion on Lake Mille Lacs.

DNR deal raises suspicion, distrust among Mille Lacs walleye anglers

Indication that public wasn't supposed to know details of walleye deal causes a stir.
A black bear and cub.

Minnesota's overall bear shortage a paradox amid soaring hunter success

Shortage of natural foods causes the animals to make themselves obvious.
These white-tailed deer in southeast Minnesota appear to be doing well. The animals were photographed on Jan. 12, 2017 in southeast Minnesota, where f

Minnesota DNR extends ban on feeding deer by 11 more counties

The state Department of Natural Resources has expanded a ban on deer feeding to 11 central and north-central counties to guard against the spread of…
Pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

Data confirms pheasant carnage from South Dakota's insufferable drought

Ringneck estimates are down 45 percent.

DNR, fearing spread of CWD, wants owner of troubled deer farm penalized

Fearing spread of CWD, agency pushing animal health board to suspend farmer's license.
Mille Lacs walleye fishing reopened last weekend with a light turnout of anglers despite very fishable weather and the continuation of a hot bite, mer

Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs reopens with a whimper

Walleyes were biting on big lake for those anglers going out.

College angler tournament 'great' for host Bemidji

Minnesota's Lake Bemidji this week will host 90 of the nation's best collegiate angler teams for three days of bass competition in a series that will determine a national Bassmaster college champion.

School fishing boom making tournament splash

Mille Lacs and Gull Lake will be proving grounds for students this week.
Keegan Lund of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources held up the shell of a native mussel covered in zebra mussels in White Bear Lake. Minneso

How the zebra mussels scourge spread across Minnesota

Zebra mussels are invading more of Minnesota's lakes and rivers than ever — and their relentless advance poses a growing threat to our state's way of life.
Researchers studied zebra mussel specimens to monitor spawning. Scientists believe gene editing will allow them to re-engineer the mollusks’ reprodu

Meet the scientists working to stop spread of zebra mussels in state

As the zebra mussel continues its destructive march across Minnesota's waterways, researchers are counterattacking with sophisticated chemical and genetic weapons.
Is your nearby lake or river infested with zebra mussels?

Is your nearby lake or river infested with zebra mussels?

More than 200 major bodies of water in Minnesota have tested positive for the presence of zebra mussels so far. Use the search tool to see which lakes and rivers have been affected.
Finished product: A largemouth bass, painted by Rick Krane

More and more, fish replicas are catching on with anglers

Growth of catch-and-release fishing keeps crafters of the next-best thing busy
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, shown in 2015, called a two-week extension of a midsummer ban on walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs "profoundly difficu

Minn. DNR chief apologizes for extended walleye ban on Lake Mille Lacs

Catch-and-release will resume on Aug. 11.
Smallmouth bass.

Mille Lacs becomes a big bass hot spot

The DNR is closely monitoring lake, eyeing smallmouth numbers.
A Mille Lacs smallmouth bass.

Mille Lacs ranked No. 1 bass lake in the nation by fishing magazine

Mille Lacs has been losing its identity as a leading walleye lake in the Upper Midwest, but it keeps gaining attention for great bass fishing.
Record-breaker: Gary Gilbert, 55, of Becker, was en route to a favorite walleye spot on Mille Lacs on June 17 when he came upon a record 59½-inch mus

Monster muskie found belly-up on Mille Lacs exceeds state record

Earlier this month, Gary Gilbert and his wife stumbled upon a decaying 59½-inch muskie. Death blanched its coloring, but its body was fully intact.
Four- to five-foot waves on Upper Red Lake kept most anglers on shore for Father’s Day. Bob Wenzel of Apple Valley dealt with the elements and was r

On Upper Red Lake, fishing is simply a breeze

Walleyes are biting on Upper Red, when the wind doesn't stop anglers.

DNR opening super-sized training academy to fill game warden shortage

DNR gets funding to fill posts opened by retirees.
A visitor to the recently opened day-use area at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park checked out the fishing pier. It also has a large p

State's newest state park a work in progress, but drawing crowds

Crowds already are flocking to the fishing pier and its surrounding day-use area at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. A few boat-in campsites have opened and crews are working toward a late-summer opening of the park's first campground.
An angler on Lake Vermilion's Pike Bay nets a walleye early Saturday morning during the 2017 state fishing opener

Fishing opener in Tower, Minn., offers fun by the boatland

Those familiar with Lake Vermilion said Saturday was the best all-around opening day of fishing that they can recall.
With luck opening day on Upper Red Lake this year won’t look like it did for the 2008 opener when it snowed on the huge lake.

Several issues await Minnesota anglers this summer

Year-over-year changes are shaped by issues tackled by DNR fisheries personnel.

State auditor set to review agency that oversees deer and elk farms

Judy Randall, deputy legislative auditor, said concerns about the possible spread of CWD from privately owned deer and elk to the state's wild herd sparked interest in an evaluation.
Guide Josh Craig of Watertown, S.D., checked a spread of snow geese decoys arranged around a pit blind west of Henry, S.D. In late season of the sprin

Hunting snow geese — abundant yet elusive — requires some blind luck

A wildly expanding population doesn't mean it's an easy hunt in the unpredictable late season

Ravaged portion of St. Croix State Forest enjoys a rebirth

Turkey enthusiasts lead habitat restoration project.

Walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake keeps improving

Ice anglers this winter harvested 109,000 pounds of walleyes under a three-fish bag limit, but the DNR announced this week that there's ample room for a spring bag limit of four walleyes.
A wildlife official pokes his finger through a hole in the ear of a female deer shot by federal sharpshooters in a culling assignment to reduce the sp

Suspicious deer killed in CWD hot zone may be from farm, DNR says

The discovery was made recently when the animal was shot during a culling exercise to reduce chances the disease will spread to other whitetails.
Walleyes are again under a catch-and-release this season on Lake Mille Lacs.

Restricted Mille Lacs walleye season to shut down entirely July 7-27

Restrictions needed to protect dwindling fish numbers, DNR says.
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