Staff Directory 6370590

Dennis Anderson

Columnist | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4424

Outdoors columnist and editor Dennis Anderson joined the Star Tribune in 1993 after serving in the same positions at the St. Paul Pioneer Press for 13 years. His column topics vary widely, and include canoeing, fishing, hunting, adventure travel and conservation of the environment.


Anderson was born in North Dakota, but grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Minnesota, Morris and a master's in journalism from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where his focus was communications law. He and his wife, Jan, along with their Labrador retrievers, live on a small farm in the St. Croix River Valley. As time allows, Anderson competes on cutting horses.
Recent content from Dennis Anderson
200 anglers were evacuated Wednesday from a sheet of ice using a bridge provided by a resort on the south side of Upper Red Lake. The ice had broken a

Anderson: Anglers brave thin ice for walleyes. But why?

Their eagerness was exemplified when 200 of them were stranded on Upper Red after ice separated on the huge northern Minnesota lake.
Preparing to hunt by bow is barely the same undertaking as hunting by rifle.

Anderson: For some bow hunters, the true aim is the self

Come autumn, archers can have many targets, some of them deer.
Joe Hautman, winner of the 2022 federal duck stamp conteat — his sixth such win — at work in his Twin Cities suburban home studio.

Anderson: Winning wildlife artist Hautman has one more brush with fame

Together with his two brothers, the Hautmans have won the federal duck stamp competition 15 times. He added to that record this year with his sixth win.
The decline among hunters, baby boomers and younger, is evident.

Anderson: Graying out? Why are older deer hunters disappearing?

Some deer hunters kill deer. Some deer hunters don't. And increasingly, some deer hunters don't show up at all. Problems that follow this decline also are almost too many to count.
Wildlife photographer Bill Marchel of Brainerd approaches Sally, a German short-haired pointer owned by Rolf Moen of Brainerd. Sally has scented and

Anderson: The flight, and allure, of hunting woodcock

As table fare, these migrators can't be surpassed. Woodcock also provide good dog-training opportunities.
Bud Grant, right, during his high school days in Superior, Wis. Shown, from left, are his dad, Harry Peter Grant Sr., his younger brothers Jack and Ji

Anderson: Grant recounts Armistice Day Blizzard, when he nearly died hunting ducks

Bud Grant, 95 now, was barely a teenager when the storm crushed the Midwest on Nov. 11, 1940, and claimed 154 lives. The legendary Vikings coach is one of the few hunters alive today who experienced and survived the blizzard.
The deer hunting camp in northwest Minnesota owned by Mike Scarborough of Alexandria, Minn., and three friends.

Deer hunting group rekindles tradition repeated across Minnesota

In northwest Minnesota, wildlife sightings make good company during long hours in a tree stand on the opening day of the firearms deer season.
Tens of thousands of Minnesotans will head to a place of freedom: deer camp.

Anderson: For fortunate visitors, deer camp is also a state of mind

Opening day of Minnesota's firearms deer season is Saturday, and hunters will be off to find their freedom.
Gov. Tim Walz, shown kneeling second from right on the opener Oct. 15, bagged two birds.

Anderson: Hunters win some, struggle some on pheasant opener

Gov. Tim Walz bagged two roosters as Worthington area beat the pheasant forecast based on August roadside counts.
Kenny Reed, left, his wife, Beth Reed, and Kris Oja made a plan Saturday morning while hunting on the pheasant opener north of the Twin Cities in Pine

Anderson: Go north for pheasants? Bird numbers say yes

Low temperatures, gray skies greet wing shooters for the opener.
Rick Radtke gave a directional cue to Jack, his champion English springer spaniel, while exercising him Wednesday in Zimmerman.

Anderson: A nemesis of pheasants, this springer is man's best friend

A trainer from Big Lake, Minn., and his English springer spaniel will be tested in a national championship in November.
Prospects for the 2022 Minnesota pheasant opener are upbeat throughout much of the bird’s range.

Anderson: In southwest Minn., where Gov. Walz will hunt, pheasants benefit from passion

The pheasant opener is next Saturday in Minnesota, and while it might not be the unofficial state holiday that it used to be the passion is still out there and prospects statewide are good.
The overall population of Wisconsin wolves wasn’t harmed by the recent controversial hunt of the wild canines in that state — nor would Minnesota�

Anderson: Wolves survive Wisconsin hunt, which is a lesson to Minnesota

Here's the lesson that should be learned: Wolf populations can readily withstand any legal, modern means of control — meaning regulated hunting and trapping.
Hunters target and kill more male mallards, or drakes, yet there is an abundnce of these compared to female mallards. Predation on the nest of hens is

Anderson: Mallard mystery finds too many drakes, too few hens with productivity at risk

Hunters shoot more male mallards, which only compounds puzzling sex-ratio disparity.
Harrison Smith of Willmar watched for ducks in the Minnesota River Valley on the 2022 duck opener.

Anderson: Manitoba looks to implement guide system for American waterfowlers

Meanwhile, teal show up in good numbers statewide on the Minnesota duck opener.
Pete Bohlig loads his duck hunting boat on Marsh Lake on Friday after making a scouting trip in advance of Saturday’s duck opener.

Anderson: Flush with vegetation, restored Marsh Lake will welcome migrating ducks this fall

The huge, multi-year project adds to habitat in Lac qui Parle area of western Minnesota.
Queen Elizabeth hosted the British Retriever Championship at her Sandringham Estate about every five years. At Sandringham she kept a kennel of as man

Anderson: Dogs make friends the world over, as the Queen could attest

Corgis were house pals of the late Queen Elizabeth II, but in the field — as with many Minnesota waterfowlers — Labradors were her favorites.
First Lady Barbara Bush, her granddaughter Barbara, and dog Millie waited on the steps of the White House for U.S. President George H.W. Bush in 1991.

Appeal of dogs and the joy they bring is universal

The loss of 'Millie,' former President and Mrs. Bush's springer spaniel, left a void that needed to be filled.
Pointing dog trainer Jerry Kolter awaits the return of his English setter while hunting grouse and woodcock in Pine County.

Anderson: Grouse hunting on foot too valuable to be lost to ATV proliferation

Did ATVs, traps contribute to falloff in participation?
Pete Harris, left, of Grand Marais and Terry Arnesen and Mark Strelnieks of the Twin Cities are joined by Fetch, a yellow Labrador, on Arnesen’s boa

Anderson: Lake Superior's lore and legend — and fish — live on

Mysterious to novices, the big lake's fishing methods are gained from experience — and helpful advice.
Waterfowl in silhouette.

U.S. hunters in Canada can bring fowl home, with certain provisions

Government agency changes its mind again around bird flu threat.
Queen Elizabeth II at the British National Retriever Championship in 1998 at the queen’s estate.

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II: Holidays at her majesty's estate

A capable equestrian and dog handler, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II regularly hosts the British National Retriever Championship at her Sandringham estate, where she walks amid sugar beets and bracken, judging for herself which is the top dog.
Minnesota hunters, like waterfowlers in some other states of the Mississippi Flyway, are seeing, and shooting, fewer ducks than they once did.

Anderson: Are biologists counting ducks that aren't there? Maybe

Hunter numbers have fallen as autumn skies have grown emptier.
Mohammad El-Sawaf’s early fascination with the woods, waters and fields of Minnesota has fueled his hunting and fishing passions.

Anderson: Minnesota growing more diverse, and so are its hunters

First-generation Muslims chase ducks, pheasants and deer, enjoying Minnesota outdoors pastimes that date to statehood.
SIgurd Olson wanted to have a simple cabin that harkened to old-time cabins of the kind trappers and other woods people used. His cabin at Listening P

Anderson: Sigurd Olson's wilderness philosophy still resonates at his retreat

Listening Point, the Burntside Lake respite, was intended to be simple, a place for reflection and inspiration.
U.S. waterfowl hunters traveling to Canada this fall might face import restrictions of their harvested birds because of the government’s attempt to

Anderson: U.S. hunters going to Canada bugged by avian flu decree

Oddly, birds can fly to U.S., from Canadian "hot zones," but can't come in hunters' coolers.
Fishing boats left Duluth for a morning on Lake Superior last week. Among the anglers this day was a contingent from Pheasants Forever.

Anderson: Happy 40th Pheasants Forever — let's fish

On a fishing trip to Duluth with, among others, Bud Grant, the primary purpose and passion for gathering along the shores of Lake Superior was to discuss birds. Pheasants, specifically.
Pheasants Forever has continued and thrived under a unique revenue-sharing model.

Anderson: 40 years ago, a pact propelled Pheasants Forever to its success today

A recent reunion was intended not only to recall that first banquet in Willmar but to recall and celebrate subsequent negotiations that produced the income-sharing strategy that still today makes PF unique among conservation groups.
In a debate at Game Fair leading up to the 2018 election, DFLer Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson offered competing conservation viewpoints. Walz w

Anderson: Conservation leaders sorely lacking in Minnesota

The lack of debate on the topic among governor candidates is only part of the state's land and water problems.
Youth at Woodie Camp near Fergus Falls, Minn., learn a variety of waterfowling skills, including handling and shooting a shotgun safely and effectivel

Anderson: Woodie Camp is back, teaching waterfowling skills

Once the province of the now-defunct Minnesota Waterfowl Association, the camp is now volunteer staffed to teach kids all about duck hunting.
Chuck Delaney, owner and promoter of Game Fair, last week posed for a portrait with a photo of his wife Loral I, on the Game Fair grounds in Ramsey, M

Anderson: Delaney carries on without wife, continues Game Fair

Famed dog trainer and trapshooter Loral I Delaney died last September. Chuck, her husband, could easily have canceled Game Fair but the show will go on.
Kelly and Joe Kruchowski have sold Joe’s iconic bait shop in Cook, Minn., a must-stop outlet for anglers headed to Crane Lake, Rainy Lake and many o

Anderson: Bait shop owner makes otherworldly move to gold mining in Area 51

But there's nothing alien about prospecting a new future.
A king eider (Somateria spectabilis) photographed by Gary Kramer and included in his new book, “Waterfowl of the World.’’

Anderson: Hunt of a lifetime. Shooting every duck in the world

Gary Kramer's new book is a testament to art and perseverance. The challenge he faced took him to Papua New Guinea, Madagascar . . . and Minnesota.
Wilderness Inquiry trip leader Ryan Stumbo paddles in the BWCA with Andrew, one of the participants on a journey that was exclusively for people who a

Anderson: BWCA is unforgettable, even when the only sound is silence

Near the Gunflint Trail, none of the five paddlers heard a loon's lonesome tremolo or the slap of a beaver's tail against the lake. But each returned home eager for another trip.
Donn Weber with a bull red drum caught off the coast of Texas.

Anderson: Retired Minnesota prison guard angling for 50 states of fishing

For 24 years Donn Weber was a corrections officer at Minnesota's only maximum-security prison, where lifers and troublemakers from other confinements do their time. Now he's a fisherman, and happier for it.
Brian Linder, left, and Nathan Thompson fish for the club team at Minnesota State Mankato. Their recent dramatic win in Michigan qualified them for th

Anderson: Best underdog story in Minnesota sports? Two dudes from Mankato

Fishing for Minnesota State Mankato, two young anglers beat the nation's best to qualify for a national tournament.
Terry Arnesen towed his 26-foot boat last week from the Twin Cities to Seattle, where he launched it and headed north to Alaska to fish.

Anderson: Minnesotans have fishing rods, will travel far — and farther

Adventure fishing takes hold as state anglers venture worldwide.
Cutting involves a dance of sorts between rider and horse.

Anderson: Best Independence Day? On a horse competing in the middle of nowhere

Everyone loves a parade, but for my money, the best way to celebrate July 4th and the days approximate to it is horseback. That's what our outdoors columnist did.
A pair of moose calves stood at the water’s edge as their mother foraged at dusk in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Topaz Lake in Fall

Anderson: However vague, there's movement in state's wolf plan

Nearly everyone seems to have opinions about how to proceed with managing the growing population.
Retired U President Robert Bruininks, left, is shown in 1989 with a near-record walleye he caught in Loon Lake. At right, Dax (left) and Otis Hofeldt,

Anderson: Could-have-been record walleye proves July 4th fishing can be hot

Retired U president Robert Bruininks caught monster walleye on July 4 under sunny skies
David Carson, 55, of Minneapolis tried Three River Park District’s expansive camping program twice last year, and loved it. “That feeling of the o

Anderson: Can camping save America? Maybe

Campfires and tents can rekindle connections to nature. Numerous studies have shown that people's mental and physical well-being improve when exposed to natural areas and nature-based activities.
Paul Schiller of Minneapolis wanted only walleye action when he and his wife launched their boat in Minnetonka last Saturday. He got a dandy 21-inch w

Anderson: On Minnetonka, a walleye on the hook — and a 52-inch muskie

A husband-wife team of weekend anglers from Minneapolis caught a walleye, and also snagged a big-toothed surprise last Saturday on Lake Minnetonka that left them stunned.
The flood of 2022 has inundated Rainy Lake and other waters in the Rainy Lake Watershed, including these boat lifts.

Anderson: Rainy Lake watershed shows vulnerability to flooding — and possibly mining

From the Gunflint Trail to Lake of the Woods, high water prevails.
A crow glides above the restored grasslands that used to be farmland in Dakota County

Walz signs lottery conservation spending bill, admonishes legislators

The bill funded a dozen legislator-favored projects that weren't reviewed by the commission charged with overseeing lottery funds.
A logo is intended to help citizens identify environment and natural resources projects around the state.

Anderson: Legislators' actions again prove lottery-fund system is broken

Wouldn't it be nice if legislators didn't misappropriate profits from lottery ticket sales, which are supposed to enhance Minnesota's environment? Or for the governor to step in?
(Clockwise from top left) Walleye status in Garrison,Beaver House Bait Shop in Grand Marais, Big Fish Supper Club in Bena and the Rainy Lake mermaid.

These fish statues point the way to a big catch

Here's a sampling of big fish statues in Minnesota, as well as some very fishy ones — along with the best fishing and camping spots near each.
This walleye statue in Baudette is Willie. Not to be confused with Wally, the walleye statue in Garrison.

Anderson: Minnesota's roadside fish statues are a call to start casting

Minnesota might have — and, if it could be proven, probably does have — more highway shrines to all things finned than any other state.
Jan Anderson, wife of outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson, with a family favorite, a crappie.

Anderson: Walleyes are tasty — but crappies and sunnies are more fun

Like mother, like daughter. Anglers of all ages love crappies.
Two boats with eager anglers departed the dock at McArdle’s Resort early Saturday morning on Lake Winnibigoshish.

Anderson: Again on walleye opener, 'Winnie' gives up her treasures

Slower in the morning, action on the big lake picked up throughout the day Saturday for Minnesota's traditional fishing opener.
The late LeRoy Chiovitte of Hermantown, Minnesota, held his state record walleye, caught in 1979. The huge walleye weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

Anderson: 43 years later, record walleye moves back to Gunflint Trail

When LeRoy Chiovitte of Hermantown died, he left no plans for the fish that had been encased in glass for four decades. Soon, though, you'll be able to see the big walleye close to where it was caught in 1979.
Opening Day 2022 looms for Minnesota walleye anglers, and hopes, as alway, are high.. (Dennis Anderson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) ORG XMIT: 4334251

Anderson: To catch your limit on Saturday's opener, increase your walleye IQ

Walleye facts and insights from a new book by DNR fisheries biologist Paul Radomski might help you catch shore lunch on Saturday's opener.
Peter Lo, right, and friends picked up some crappie minnows at Wayzata Bait and Tackle on Tuesday.

Anderson: Hooking anglers since 1975, Wayzata bait shop may have reached its limit

Big box stores and changes in fishing technology may lead to the closure of another one of the suburban bait shops that have fallen victim to changing times.
With luck, opening day of the walleye season this year won’t look like this on Upper Red Lake. This is how the 2008 opener looked on the huge lake �

Anderson: For opener, ice-out will be a close call on some Minnesota lakes

Cold weather has hung around this spring, slowing the arrival of open water on some lakes in the northern part of the state.
The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. ] LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

Anderson: Republicans' attempted diversion of lottery proceeds sign of the times

Today, Minnesota legislators too often hew the caucus line, and the state's natural resources are going to suffer.
Dreaming of open water while sitting in their boats — still on trailers, in their garages — is popular sport for Minnesotans in April.

Anderson: For the love of boats — and why not?

Sitting in your boat, in your garage, anticipating open water, is good for your mind in April
A diorama of sandhill cranes completed in 1946.

Anderson: Fascinating new book celebrates 150 years of the Bell Museum

The book, like the museum's new building, showcases visionaries' long-held belief that science and public education — and entertainment — can go hand in hand.
Colleen Grant (top left with yellow Labrador, Cody), Nikkii Harrington (bottom left), Nancy McLaughlin (middle), and Shar Goihl.

Anderson: Women hunters find excitement, satisfaction in search for turkeys

Meet four who have learned that rising early and communing with nature is worth repeating.
Craig Brown: Fishing was a way of life.

Anderson: Accident claims Minnesota resort owner, family carries on with opener near

Craig Brown grew up on "Winnie'' at his family's McArdle's Resort and was never happier than when fishing was involved.
Hatchery production of walleyes is critical to sustain Minnesotans’ pursuit of their state fish.

Anderson: Held together 'by baling wire and duct tape,' DNR hatcheries need state help

The hatcheries are critical to maintaining fishing opportunities Minnesota anglers expect and that attract nonresidents to the state every year.
Gov. Mark Dayton suffered what was at times excruciating pain in his back and hip. But he always made the Governor’s Fishing Opener. Not so for Gov.

Anderson: Tradition, ritual — and Minnesotans — are losers in Governor's Fishing Opener fiasco

The Governor's Fishing Opener dates to 1948 but will be replaced this year. That break with tradition by Gov. Tim Walz is a disappointment.
Fly-in fishing trips to Canadian lakes will again be on the agendas of many American anglers this summer, thanks to an easing of border-crossing restr

Anderson: For vaccinated anglers, Canada opens up, no testing required

Canadian resort owners and outfitters hope anglers respond in droves, but Americans' reluctance to get shots might limit numbers.
Anglers aren’t threatening the future of walleyes and walleye fishing in Minnesota, a DNR biologist says. Global warming and shoreline destruction a

Anderson: DNR biologist says proposed walleye limit cut is a social issue that won't yield more fish

The Legislature is mulling over an idea dividing the state's anglers.
Brainerd area fishing guide Nate Blasing is president of Walleye Alliance, which is advocating for a reduction in the state walleye limit from six to

Anderson: Walleye limit cut to 4 popular among anglers and might help, Brainerd guide says

Legislature mulls change that biologists say won't produce more walleyes.
Few things are more hopeful than springtime, unless it's a puppy in springtime, in this case a 4-month-old black Labrador.

Anderson: A new puppy means less sleep but more hope

Life gets interrupted by a four-legged, Labrador tail-wagger.
Federal’s plant in Anoka is celebrating its centennial this year and is operating around the clock supplying hunters and target shooters, as well as

Anderson: At 100, Federal looks ahead while churning out ammunition

Few companies reach their centennial anniversary, but the Anoka-based company is thriving at that age. Hear from Jason Vanderbrink, its ammunition president.
The Student Angler Tournament Trail offers competitive bass fishing in Minnesota for high school boys and girls, and awards scholarships to winning an

Anderson: Kids' fishing tourney group inspires kids, parents at Northwest Sportshow

Student Angler Tournament Trail offers tournaments and scholarships.
Fishing for lake trout, Dennis Anderson, left, and Pete Harris of Grand Marais peered into icy cylinders bored into thick ice on a lake off the Gunfli

Anderson: A venture off the Gunflint Trail leads to lake trout

Pete Harris, 87, already worth knowing because he fishes Lake Superior in a 14-foot boat, finds his way around winter, too.
Dick Hanousek of St. Paul cast a fly on a recent opening day of stream trout season in Forestville State Park in southeast Minnesota.

Anderson: In memory of a fisherman who taught those around him well

Dick Hanousek acted on the lessons he learned throughout his life. One was shared by his son: "Dad told me once that he had good friends who made a lot of money and sometimes lost their families in the process.''
A new study of Wisconsin lakes echoes what some other studies have said: Walleye production in some northern tier states is declining.

Anderson: Is cutting the walleye limit to four a good idea? Retired DNR fisheries manager says no

Angler harvest is an important tool to manage lakes, Gary Barnard says, and those pushing for change are targeting a problem that doesn't exist.
Wild steelhead are prized on the North Shore, where anglers will soon brave early spring weather to seek these migratory rainbow trout.

Anderson: North Shore's steelhead stocking revives after COVID pause

This winter's deep snow from Duluth to Grand Portage ensures the North Shore's 60-odd steelhead rivers will have sufficient water in spring for the fish to make their spawning runs from Lake Superior.
Officials at a Wyoming Game and Fish Department Lander check station during the 2021 big game season remove lymph nodes from hunters’ deer to check

Anderson: Wyoming's present could be Minnesota's CWD future

The alarming incidence of chronic wasting disease in at least one Wyoming deer herd should wake up Minnesota.
How many walleyes is enough? Cutting limit from six to four is a feel-good idea for some. But it lacks scientific backing.

Anderson: No scientific sense, but DNR, Legislature mull cutting walleye limit

If Minnesota's six-walleye limit isn't hurting anything, why are some legislators and the DNR in favor again this legislative session of cutting the limit from six to four walleyes?
The scene from a thriving summer in Ely, early August of 1962, along E. Sheridan Street.

Anderson: Defined by complex history, Ely is a colorful town we're lucky to have

On the wilderness' edge of northeastern Minnesota, people can disagree. But most try to get along — and make a living. Ely is a complicated and colorful place.
In Minnesota, management of wildlife and other natural resources ultimately resides with the governor and legislature, not professional biologists.

Anderson: If politicians coached the Vikings, fans would learn why Minnesota conservation loses

Lakes impaired, habitat gone? Minnesota's resources have 201 "General Managers," ensuring more squandered seasons.
Deer can carry and spread brainworm benignly, and that spells trouble for the state’s moose population.

Anderson: DNR tells hunters to get used to low deer numbers in northeast

Department of Natural Resources managers held an online chat this week about depleted whitetail populations in northeast Minnesota, and their message to frustrated hunters was, "Get used to it.''