Staff Directory 6370590

Dennis Anderson

Columnist | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4424

Outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson joined the Star Tribune in 1993 after serving in the same position 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.
Recent content from Dennis Anderson
Ted Williams and his then-girlfriend Doris Soule, of Princeton, Minn., after a fine day hunting in 1942.

Anderson: With bat or shotgun, Ted Williams hit home runs in Minnesota

The late Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams said the best year he ever had was in 1938 when he was hunting and fishing — and playing baseball for the Minneapolis Millers.
Women hunters in South Dakota included, clockwise from bottom left, Emilie Hitch, Jackie Taylor, Maija Hoehn, Anne Mezzenga, Danyel O’Connor, Lacy C

Anderson: Minnesota women aim for camaraderie and hit the mark

Ten women who hadn't hunted before headed west from Minnesota to South Dakota to flush, and shoot, pheasants.
Wolves in the northeast have decimated the deer population, which has been hampered in recent years by tough winters as well.

Anderson: The DNR needs to act as wolves decimate deer in Minnesota

Hunters and conservation officers alike in northeast Minnesota have watched as deer populations and deer hunters dwindle. Solutions are needed.
This buck was rubbing its forehead on a “licking branch’’ on property owned by Bill Marchel, who lives near Brainerd. Licking branches, together

Anderson: A dedicated hunter was overdue; then a buck walked up

Minnesota wildlife photographer Bill Marchel can spend years in a bow stand on his property, waiting for a quality buck to pass his way. Here's what happened when it did.
For many of Minnesota’s more than 400,000 firearms deer hunters, campfires and the tales told around them are highlights of their seasons.

Anderson: Going deer hunting this weekend? Here are five keys to success

Understanding whitetail behavior, knowing your gun and — above all — being safe are among the keys to experiencing a memorable Minnesota firearms deer opener.
As the sun sets, Will Smith, foreground, and Dan Gahlon watch redheads, ring-necked ducks, green-winged teal and trumpeter swans trade back and forth

Anderson: Ducks (and ghosts) of Lake Christina revel in its comeback

Central Minnesota's Lake Christina had gone from a natural wonder to a murky cesspool nearly devoid of birds. But technology has brought back ducks — and tales of its past.
Brothers Henry Ernst, 98, left, and John Ernst, 96, of St. Paul still look to the skies each fall for mallards and other ducks.

Anderson: Duck hunters in their 90s still where they want to be — a marsh

Brothers Henry Ernst, 98, and John Ernst, 96, of St. Paul still look to the skies each fall for mallards and other ducks.
Anderson: The walks weren't wasted on Minnesota's pheasant opener

Anderson: The walks weren't wasted on Minnesota's pheasant opener

The DNR's ringneck forecast based on August roadside counts proved accurate, with plenty of birds flushed on Saturday.
In his day, Del the black Labrador saw a lot of open country and loved it all, drake mallard retrieving especially.

Anderson: When a hunting dog's time comes, so does the pain

A black Labrador, Del saw a lot of open country, from shooting estates in England to pheasant openers in Minnesota.
Thanks to thousands of acres of new habitat purchased with Legacy Amendment funds, and thanks also to conservationists’ efforts, the pheasant’s fu

Anderson: State pheasant prospects bright, should get even brighter

Accelerated habitat purchases and pheasant and waterfowl hunters' conservation efforts are helping the state's most beautiful gamebird.
Thirteen-year-old Ryker Copp of Warren in northwest Minnesota drew a once-in-a-lifetime DNR elk permit and shot this 8x10 bull.

Minnesota boy, 13, drops massive 1,000-pound bull elk

The hard-to-get DNR hunting permit eluded the boy's father, but young Ryker Copp was one of two to win the license lottery in a special area near the Canadian border.
Anderson: Epic adventure born in Minnesota takes paddlers into the Arctic

Anderson: Epic adventure born in Minnesota takes paddlers into the Arctic

Three years in planning and decades in dreaming, the adventure was filled with Northern Lights, wildlife and challenges. It was a life-changing experience.
Sophie Arhart, left, with her sister Gracie and Ace the black Labrador in southern Minnesota during Saturday’s duck opener. Two woodies, a pintail a

Anderson: Lifetime of loving ducks fuels outdoorswoman's career

Sophie Arhart grew up in the outdoors, and the payoff is doing what she loves working for Ducks Unlimited.
Hunters at McFarland Hunting Hotel on Ten Mile Lake in Otter Tail County in the 1880s.

Anderson: Minnesota history takes wing in new book about state duck camps

A lifelong duck hunter who grew up in Otter Tail County spent six years researching, writing and publishing the 756-page book.
For the first time, crossbows will be legal this fall for special archery hunts at Camp Ripley — and statewide — thanks to a law change by the Leg

Anderson: Legislators, crossbow hunters both take the easy way out

Society has become infatuated with giving rewards for little to no effort — that was on display when the Legislature more broadly legalized crossbows without a hearing.
With their dogs by their side, and out ahead, Minnesota upland hunters eagerly await the state’s fall seasons for grouse, woodcock and pheasants.

Anderson: Fall hunters who hike for birds (and some Bud Grant wisdom)

Upland hunters prefer to walk for their birds, often endlessly, rather than sit in a duck blind and await their prey to arrive. Boot leather, briar-proof pants and Bud Grant were made for the challenge.
The higher blue-winged teal harvest in Minnesota can be attributed to the five-day early hunt experiment.

Anderson: Blue-winged teal's surge turns duck hunting on its head

For the first time in Minnesota history, mallards were not the most abundant duck in hunters' bags last season. Here's why that happened.
Lane Johnson, a forest research scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Cloquet Forestry Center, held photos of a controlled fire set on the pine

Anderson: North Woods researchers look to Indigenous techniques to fight fire with fire

At the University of Minnesota's Cloquet Forestry Center, ancient uses of fire by Indigenous people and its many benefits are being researched.
Barrett Gregory, 4, experienced his first “Up North” vacation recently, spending time with his parents at a family friend’s cabin.

Anderson: In his cancer battle, a 4-year-old catches a fish — and a break

Barrett Gregory caught a fish. Played on a beach. Sat around a campfire. Drove a boat on a northern Minnesota lake. All while his parents, grandparents and friends watched and laughed — and were finally able to relax.
Dallas Hudson of rural Akeley, Minn., finds pleasure in rowing to a favorite fishing spot on a warm summer evening.

Anderson: Are Minnesota anglers putting too much pressure on big northern pike?

Dallas Hudson has spent his life studying animal populations, he measured, weighed, sexed, and tagged northerns on his 160-acre lake over about eight years.
Martha Minchak, a retired Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager, walked through a diverse hardwoods stand that she helped manage

Anderson: DNR logs big failure in fish and wildlife land squabble

Doing the right thing for its own sake, and also to follow the law, is a lesson the DNR should learn in this logging conflict with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Last year ahead of Game Fair, Chuck Delaney posed with a portrait of his wife, Loral I, who died in 2021. Their long-running event reflects collective

Anderson: Game Fair carries on, honoring a famed outdoorswoman

Chuck Delaney, 90, sees the show, held on the family's land in Ramsey, as testament to the way he and his late wife — champion trapshooter and famed dog trainer, Loral I Delaney — lived their lives.
A grizzly bear moved through Glacier National Park.

Anderson: The grizzly bears attacked, and a Minnesota man recalls the horror

A teenager from Edina got free, but the fatal maulings of two young women, one also a Minnesotan, forever changed the history of Glacier National Park and the way its bears are managed.
Muskies in warm water are particularly susceptible to delayed mortality, meaning they die prematurely after appearing to be in good shape when release

Anderson: Minnesota can get too hot for fishing — and we're about there

With temperatures in the 90s and water temperature not that far behind, we're reaching a point when anglers should consider parking their boats and hang up their rods until things cool down.
Fly angler John Butler hooks a smallmouth bass on a surface “popper’’ while his fishing partner, Ted Higman, leaves the oars of his drift boat p

Anderson: Wild, scenic and kind-of fishy, the Upper St. Croix is a wonder

Smallmouth bass — feisty and exciting to pursue and hook — are among the attractions on the St. Croix River. It also harbors the rarest of present-day commodities, one that's among the most fragile
Scenes like this keep anglers fishing in mid-summer, a time when families in particular try their luck on Minnesota waters.

Anderson: Midsummer fishing isn't as easy, but here's how to hook 'em

Walleye action slows at this time of year because of the weather. But there are still opportunities for a successful outing. Here are some tips for making that happen.
Riding a horse requires control of the animal by the rider. But oftentimes control is illusory, which is both the frustration of equine sports, and th

Anderson: 4 a.m. wake-up, extra caffeine and a road trip to ride

Our columnist takes you along for the ride — in his truck at sunrise, to McDonald's for an unusual breakfast option and on the back of a gelding named Olaf.
A service helicopter dumps water on a back burn along the Gunflint Trail in 2007.

Can the BWCA be saved from fire — by fire?

Climate change virtually ensures future fires in the wilderness area — something Indigenous people survived for eons. Can we learn something from their ancient practices?
Zach Piescher, left, and Cole Semler, students at Cambridge-Isanti High School, won the High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi R

Anderson: Pumping gas, landing bass. Two Minnesota teen anglers make history

Zach Piescher and Cole Semler of Cambridge-Isanti can stake claim to being the best high school bass anglers in the United States. It was a weird journey.
Lake of the Woods is one of Minnesota’s — and Canada’s — most beautiful lakes, and one of North America’s best fishing waters.

Anderson: Fishing's rule No. 1? Follow rules — or face consequences

A fish possession limit in Minnesota means just that: A person is allowed only one limit of a regulated fish species at a time. The stakes are especially high on one heavily fished border lake.
Dog training is popular at Kelley Land and Cattle Co., also known as Kelley Farms, in Marine on St. Croix. The Legislature approved $20 million to pur

Anderson: Kelley Farms soon to be wildlife management area

DNR hopes to take possession of the 1,820-acre property by the end of the year.
Roger Strand is shown here in 2019 in an heirloom duck shack near New London, Minn.

Anderson: Strand — physician and conservationist — will be missed

Roger Strand, of New London in Kandiyohi County, died June 5 at age 87.
Migrating ducks used a wetland in western Minnesota. A Supreme Court ruling could cut into the protection of wetlands.

Anderson: If you won't do it, who will speak up for state's wetlands?

Wondering why Minneapolis is suddenly pockmarked with sinkholes, or why basements of homes in the Minnehaha Creek watershed are filling with water? It's the same reason we don't have the numbers of ducks we once did.
Creating time and space for kids to fish. Someone did that a few summers ago for Jailyn Combs, then 10, at Hidden Falls Regional Park.

Anderson: Fishing hooks kids and grown-ups together, and we should do it more often

In Minnesota and Alaska and a million places in between, kids can benefit from fishing — fish or no fish. Getting them started early can yield lifelong benefits, including to parents.
Fishing on Mille Lacs on this May day was made a little easier with sonar technology.

Anderson: Will new tech mean the end of fishing, or the end of fishing as we know it?

New gadgets allow anglers to see underwater in real time, and watch their lures fall toward their targets.
A silver carp caught in an Illinois waterway.

Anderson: While invasive carp swim upstream, DNR forms a committee

The presence of silver carp in the Mississippi River and the threat they pose to Minnesota game fish, as well as lake and river recreation, has been apparent for at least a dozen years.
Guiding is a way of life for some in Minnesota’s outdoors.

Anderson: Guides' guide to summer, whether boating, fishing or paddling

Some of Minnesota's most interesting people make a living not in an office but in a boat or canoe.
Kay Hawley is an avid angler and one of 1,200 members of the group Women Anglers of Minnesota.

Anderson: In Minnesota, fish hook women, too — and in big numbers

In Minnesota, about 20% of anglers are women — a number that's thought to be highest in the nation. But would even more take to the water if given the chance?
At sunrise Saturday, Mark Strelnieks of Victoria tossed a lure into Moose Lake, home of Paradise Resort, while fishing Upper Red Lake on opening day o

Anderson: On yet another opener, Upper Red produces many walleyes

Thousands of anglers descend on the lake in northern Minnesota, seeking five-walleye limits.
Legendary Leech Lake fishing guide Al Maas, right, with his grandson, Grant, who is also a guide. 

Anderson: Meet Leech Lake's legend who fishes on despite paralysis

A 2019 stroke and accident left him almost entirely paralyzed, but 85-year-old Al Maas, a longtime guide on the northern Minnesota lake, keeps looking forward to the walleye opener.
'Walleye Road Trip': Cruise Minnesota and catch our tastiest fish

'Walleye Road Trip': Cruise Minnesota and catch our tastiest fish

To spark the imagination and nurture the wanderlust many anglers harbor, follow along with outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson on our seven-day Walleye Road Trip.
Anderson: Ice-out for walleye opener? Local anglers offer updates

Anderson: Ice-out for walleye opener? Local anglers offer updates

Spring has come late, and slowly, to northern Minnesota. Here's the latest conditions on our favorite lakes.
In 1992, Gov. Arne Carlson announced an effort to to clean up the Minnesota River. Carlson held a sample of dirty river water collected after a heavy

Anderson: Environmental Q&A with former Gov. Carlson. 'It's our survival we're talking about'

"I've always felt if a choice must be made between commerce and the environment, the environment should win,'' former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson said in an interview with columnist Dennis Anderson.
Deer hunting in Minnesota.

Anderson: Hunters, target shooters stand amid important gun debates

Purchasing a gun for sporting pursuits regardless of its cost or quality necessarily implies a belief in, and an intent to participate in, this nation's unique freedoms.
In 2005, a Capitol Mall rally of “Guns and Greens’’ attracted 6,000 Minnesotans in support of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Anderson: Earth Day reminds 'Guns and Greens' to work together

Too often, environmentalists and hunters and anglers miss opportunities to conserve our natural resources.
Paul Dick, Rex Hibbert and Rob Hallstrom, from left, posed in Circle City, Alaska, where they ran into more mechanical issues.

Anderson: 'Old Guy' snowmobilers call Alaskan adventure a success

After suffering snowmobile breakdowns the last two days of their trip, the three men rode the last leg into Fairbanks on wheels.
Paul Dick, 72, Rob Hallstrom, 65, and Rex Hibbert, 70, repair one of their snowmobiles in Fort Yukon, Alaska.

Anderson: On trail again, 'old guy' snowmobilers heading for Fairbanks

With help from local residents, damaged machine is retrieved and repaired.
The “three old guys’’ travel on the Porcupine River in Alaska, headed for Fort Yukon, a trip that was interrupted by a snowmobile fire.

Fire on the trail: New obstacle delays 'Old Guy' snowmobilers in Alaska

The latest delay in the Minnesota-to-Alaska adventure came over the weekend when one of the snowmobiles caught fire and needed to be abandoned. Here's what happened and what's ahead.
Operating without a follow-along support crew, the three “old guy’’ snowmobilers brought excess parts with them, and are shown here in Old Crow,

Gritty, 'old guy' snowmobilers (hopefully) within a few hundred miles of Fairbanks

Paul Dick, Rex Hibbert and Rob Hallstrom are experienced long-distance snowmobile adventurers and racers, and are equally adept with wrenches.
Jade Thomason of Duluth, with her husband, fly fishing guide, photographer and writer Carl Haensel, has published a companion map book to Haensel’s

Anderson: Wading into fly fishing in Minnesota in 10 easy steps

Carl Haensel and Jade Thomason, a husband-and-wife team from Duluth, have published two new books that will help both novice and experienced fly anglers enjoy many fishing opportunities.
Paul Dick, 72, Rex Hibbert, 70, and Rob Hallstrom, 65, left Minnesota March 6 for Fairbanks, Alaska, by snowmobile. They’re currently stuck in the v

'Old guys' snowmobilers headed to Alaska stuck, await parts delivery above Arctic Circle

After about 5,000 miles on their snowmobiles, the "three old guys'' from Minnesota who departed Grand Rapids one month ago are in a village called Old Crow
We don’t want this scene, from the Illinois River near Havana, Ill., playing out in Minnesota.

Anderson: Tomorrow's Minnesotans won't forgive for inaction on invasive carp

A state whose major waterways are filled with huge, jumping carp? It's not only possible, it's likely.
Fairbanks in the sights of the 'three old guys' traveling to Alaska by snowmobile

Fairbanks in the sights of the 'three old guys' traveling to Alaska by snowmobile

The trio left Grand Rapids, Minn., March 6 and will have ridden more than 5,000 miles when they reach their destination this week.
Riding identical Arctic Cat snowmobiles and pulling sleds filled with extra parts, food and other gear, Paul Dick, Rex Hibbert and Rob Hallstrom — �

Anderson: Minnesota to Alaska by snowmobile? 'Three old guys' try

Nearing the Arctic Ocean, the trio is entering the toughest part of their adventure that started earlier this month in Grand Rapids.
In 2022, deer also were burdened by heavy snowfall in large swaths of northern Minnesota.

Signs point to northern Minnesota deer under winter stress again

DNR's Winter Severity Index only accounts for part of the stress on whitetails.
Manitoba has issued new waterfowl hunting regulations for Americans for fall 2023.

Manitoba 2023 waterfowl hunting regulations for Americans detailed

Province will award all applicants a seven-day license this fall. In the future a lottery will be held for licenses.
Bud Grant, shown at age 90, hunting ducks along the North Platte River in western Nebraska.

Anderson: Bud Grant hunted peace and thrills far from football fields

A coach who hunted and fished? Or a hunter and fisherman who coached? With the Minnesota icon, it was hard to tell. Dennis Anderson shares memories from friends — and of his last visit with Grant.
The Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo is this weekend, March 17-19, at Hamline University Walker Fieldhouse.

Fly fishing is center of the world at Great Waters Expo this weekend

Casting demonstrations, fly-tying instruction and scores of exhibitors slated for event at Hamline University fieldhouse.
Memories of sunsets like these on the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods are beckoning American anglers north again after Canadian COVID-19 border res

Anderson: With the Canadian border open again, anglers look north

Ontario resort owners at the Northwest Sportshow say bookings are rising, now that COVID-19 border-crossing restrictions have been lifted.
Muskie shows, eagle spotting, ice-out watching, migration prepping … there’s a lot to do in Minnesota this March.

In like a lion: Nine things to do, follow in Minnesota outdoors in March

Thinking about predictions for ice-out, new rough fish rules, Northwest Sportshow's arrival, raptors on the wing, muskies, and more. March is a busy month for things to do, follow and learn about.
The varying availability of grain crops in South Dakota has meant that ducks and geese that once proved abundant are now more elusive.

Anderson: South Dakota waterfowl beckon lottery-luck nonresidents

The state's waterfowl managers have resisted pressure to issue a dedicated number of nonresident licenses to outfitters — a plan Manitoba is endorsing.
Manitoba is likely to limit the number of U.S. waterfowlers — meaning, primarily, Minnesotans — who can hunt in the province.

Anderson: 'Blue-collar hunters' from Minnesota should watch Manitoba's moves carefully

Non-resident license proposal angers American waterfowlers, who pay for most of Canada's wetland conservation.
Conifer cover, including pines, cedars and other evergreens, provides forest areas with minimum amounts of snow, which benefit deer.

Anderson: Snowy winter giving pheasants, deer the cold shoulder

Though wildly disparate species, Minnesota ringnecked pheasants and whitetailed deer share one important instinct: A generations-honed will to survive. That trait has been especially important this winter.
New Pheasants Forever CEO Marilyn Vetter, 55, is an avid upland bird hunter. She’s shown here in Arizona with her German shorthairs while hunting Me

Anderson: Broadening conservation's appeal is a Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever goal

Marilyn Vetter, 55, takes over as the Minnesota group's third leader in 40 years.
Floridly colored, the rooster pheasant has inspired generations of upland hunters and conservationists since they were ntroduced here from China at th

Anderson: Birds of a feather to gather by the thousands at Pheasant Fest, Quail Classic

Pheasants Forever will celebrate its 40th anniversary at a three-day event in Minneapolis.
A proposal before the Legislature is to raise the price of fishing licenses and boating registration.

Anderson: Higher fishing, boat fees will fall to workaday Minnesotans

Hikers, bikers, birders and everyday Minnesotans, as usual, will get a pass, while anglers and boaters will likely need to pony up.
Gordon MacQuarrie came along at a time when Americans’ appetite for outdoors adventures stories had been whetted.

Anderson: Stories of The Old Duck Hunter live on

Gordon MacQuarrie's more memorable stories, and there were reams of them, were spun in a style that by turns blended fact and fiction — or perhaps more accurately, fact and exaggeration.
A DNR biologist holds a silver carp caught in Pool 8 of the Mississippi River in 2020.

Anderson: Time is long past to stop jumping carp from invading

Sound and bubble barrier is possible at Lock and Dam 5 on the Mississippi, but the DNR wants to talk rather than act.
One of two pickups that broke through the Lake of the Woods ice early Sunday morning. This one sunk in about 33 feet of water. The other was pulled ou

Anderson: Minnesota's ice isn't so nice, and anglers' pickups go down

From the Mississippi River to Lake of the Woods, uneven weather means, at times, uneven ice — and sometimes the need to fish out a vehicle that has been caught unaware.
Walleyes and other important Minnesota fish populations are often supported by the state’s hatcheries. But most of the hatcheries need repairs, and

Anderson: Walz, DNR propose to tap state surplus for $118 million to fix hatcheries, water accesses

Bonding money to be announced next week would supplement the surplus spending plan.
Shown here on Lake of the Woods with Dennis Anderson’s sons casting for muskies, a Ranger 619 covered a lot of miles on the water, and on a trailer

Anderson: 10 boats that kept me afloat through the years

Drawn to water, Minnesotans float boats for different purposes, at different times. And sometimes as life changes, a change in boats is in order.
Sarah Strommen, DNR commissioner, with her son, Will, lake trout fishing near the BWCA in March 2022.

Anderson: DNR leader says funding needed, source to be determined

Q&A: Sarah Strommen, Minnesota's first woman DNR commissioner, has been reappointed for a second term.
Outdoors-loving Minnesotans share their 2023 bucket lists

Outdoors-loving Minnesotans share their 2023 bucket lists

From remote hunting to rugged backpacking to angling through ice, Minnesotans file their dreamed-of adventures in the year ahead.
Arik Matson, right, at age 28 with his uncle Paul Matson, who first took Arik duck hunting when he was 9 years old. Paul Matson will accompany Arik to

Anderson: After tragedy, Waseca officer leaves for Alaska adventure

Arik Matson nearly died while on duty three years ago. The bullet changed his life. It did not, however, take away his passion for hunting, and a donated hunt soon will give him a big thrill.
Gov. Tim Walz showed off a walleye during the 2022 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener on May 14 on Lake Winnibigoshish.

Anderson: Manage resources better to achieve 'best place to raise kids'

Gov. Tim Walz's ambitions belie the direction Minnesota lands and waters are headed. Until control over the state's resources is wrested from the governor's office and the Legislature, nothing will change.