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
Minnesotan Jay Johnson’s avocation and vocation focused on the state’s natural resources and their conservation.

Anderson: A sportsman's life, Minnesota style

Jay Johnson has shared in the state's bounty, and helped replenish it, too.
Bo Brannon, 14, of Genoa City, Wis., felled his first deer, a buck, on the Wisconsin deer opener while hunting with his dad,  Frank, as well as his gr

Minnesota deer harvest lags last year; license sales flat

Wisconsin opening weekend kill is down 14%.
Nolan Sprengeler, left, and Kevin Kray with the massive fish. The 57 3/4-inch muskie had a girth of 29 inches.

Plymouth angler's Mille Lacs muskie breaks state record: 'What an incredible fish'

Plymouth angler catches 55-pound, 14-ounce monster and topples a record that has stood for 64 years.
Properly preparing for a rifle shot in open country ensures a steady rest and proper target acquisition — thus ensuring to the greatest degree possi

Anderson: The art and practice of shooting straight

Proper rifle-shooting technique is necessary to make any shot, particularly those at long range.
Mount of a spruce grouse.

Anderson: Outdoorswoman Meadow Kouffeld has new stuff to do — taxidermy

The Minnesota college instructor and onetime DNR employee fashions life-like mounts artistically.
A whitetail buck, using its ability to observe under cover, kept an eye on an approaching photographer from his bed in a small patch of brush and gras

There's a world of research to help deer hunters bag a buck

As deer hunting season gets underway, DNR harvest data reveal areas of high buck harvest rates. Hard-copy maps are available and there's even an app.
A review of Minnesota firearms hunting mishaps speaks to one thing: They can happen in any moment.

Anderson: Gun accidents can happen to anyone, even you

A review of Minnesota firearms hunting mishaps is telling.
Kelly Straka, originally from Wayzata, will lead the DNR’s wildlife section from her home near Duluth. She’s shown here on a recent woodcock hunt.

Anderson: Q&A with Kelly Straka, DNR's ground-breaking new section manager

Straka grew up in Wayzata before undertaking a circuitous route back to Minnesota that included stops all over the world.
Tom Franchino, left, moved to a small North Dakota town (population about 250) 19 years ago for the hunting and fishing. Two years ago his buddy, Jeff

Anderson: Like ducks, these Minnesotans migrated to North Dakota, and love it

North Dakota grew at a 15% clip between 2010 and 2020, fourth fastest in the nation. That was mostly in bigger cities. Most of the state still operates at a slower pace with especially great hunting and fishing.
Thirty-five conservation partners joined to form the vast Tiger Lake conservation complex on the edge of the greater metro.

Anderson: Reflecting on a lost land enjoying a rebirth

Legacy Amendment dollars and conservation-minded moves have brought back a wild place in Norwood Young America.
The Minnesota pheasant hunting season begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 16.

Anderson: Ahead of Saturday's opener, ringneck hunters have pheasants on the mind

Among five topics of note, advanced crop harvest should help uplanders find birds.
One of the world’s most beautiful gamebirds, the rooster pheasant becomes legal fare in Minnesota Saturday.

Anderson: Pheasants Forever emerges from pandemic boosting conservation efforts

Now employing some 280 wildlife biologists, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are leveraging significant new government and corporate funds to multiply their conservation reach.
Rowdi, gone 8 months on the North Shore, is seen now only on a billboard outside Grand Marais.

Anderson: Have you seen Rowdi, the dog on the billboard missing 8 months?

The billboard is on Minnesota's North Shore, along Hwy. 61. The man who put it up is in Minneapolis and tells why his family has gone to such great lengths for Rowdi.
Pete Harris of Grand Marais with the vintage 14-foot boat he uses to fish lake trout on Lake Superior.

Anderson: He's on a big lake with a small boat, on a vintage pursuit

Pete Harris, 86, regularly seeks lake trout on Lake Superior, almost always alone and each time deploying the same three-seater 14-foot Starcraft he bought in 1964 to fish for walleyes on inland lakes.
Tom Larson, left, and Matt Slater await a flight of ducks while hunting northwest of Willmar on Saturday, opening day of the 2021 Minnesota watrerfowl

Anderson: Waterfowl season debuts with traditions renewed, though ducks are few

A new duck hunting season at a camp that has long history dawned Saturday. Though few ducks were overhead, the morning's enjoyment, ultimately, would not be defined solely by the number of birds bagged.
Ducks seen on the opening weekend for non-resident North Dakota hunters included drake mallards, like these, as well as pintails, gadwall and wigeon.

Anderson: Ducks deserve our best, not hollow words and indifference

We say we cherish ducks. But our actions often fool us into thinking we're conservationists when the reality is very different. A change of values is needed.
Chandra Twede received trapshooting lessons from her grandmother, Loral I Delaney, in 2003.

Famed trapshooter, dog trainer Loral I Delaney of Ramsey dies at 83

An animal lover who as a young girl kept everything from racoons to skunks as pets, Delaney at age 5 headlined her first dog act in 1943.
Stephen Roche, left, of Princeton, and Steve Backowski of Andover have been friends since their days at Anoka High School, and have hunted ducks toget

Anderson: Two kids from Anoka celebrate nearly a half- century of duck hunting together

Bound by a common love of fall and the surprise appearance of fast-flying ducks wheeling atop their decoys, Stephen Roche and Steve Backowski reflected on a recent day how quickly a half-century can pass.
Hunters might be among the first Minnesotans to have their recreation choices, and perhaps their lifestyles, significantly altered by climate change.

Threats of climate change lurk as Minnesota's hunting seasons begin

Hunters might be the first Minnesotans to have their recreation choices, and perhaps their lifestyles, significantly altered in a number of ways.
Fred Froehlich, left, of Nicollet, Minn., is mentoring 13-year-old Connor Bode of Mankato, helping the boy along his path to becoming a proficient hun

Anderson: Mentors keep the chain moving for young hunters

Today's youth need to be tomorrow's caretakers of our woods, waters and fields.
A pair of duck hunters hunkered in their boat on the Mississippi River north of Brainerd on Saturday on the first day of the five-day experimental tea

Anderson: Some duck hunters find teal in DNR's new 'experimental' season

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Minnesota duck hunters were granted a special early teal-hunting season, which opened Saturday at sunrise statewide.
Kathy Mommsen of Minneapolis is canoeing and biking the perimeter of Minnesota with her husband, Tony. Here they paddle the Mississippi River.

Anderson: By wheel and paddle, Minneapolis couple takes on perimeter of Minnesota

An ambitious journey for a Minneapolis couple has them on a state-wide journey by land and sea, pitching a tent to sleep in along the way.
Parker Smith, a Willmar eighth-grader, overlooks a Minnesota River backwater in Renville County on the first day of duck hunting Saturday. Hunting gen

Leech Lake, White Earth bands close wild-rice waters to teal hunters

The bands said the action is to protect wild rice harvesters during the five-day season, which starts Saturday. The ban covers some of Minnesota's best duck hunting areas and surprised DNR officials.
Teal in flight appear small. This early in fall they won’t be as colorfully plumed as they will be later in the season.

Anderson: DNR to hold special teal season, despite drought's effect on ducks

A five-day "experiment'' teal hunt begins Sept. 4. No one knows how many hunters will go afield seeking these early migrating ducks, nor how many teal the waterfowlers might see, or shoot.
South Dakota pheasant hunters have long enjoyed plentiful ringneck and spectacular sunsets. The sunsets are still there.

Anderson: Non-resident hunters vote on South Dakota pheasant plan by not showing up

Once the king of all ringneck states, based on bird numbers, South Dakota now relies on gimmicks.
Now on the eve of autumn, hunters prepare to team up with their special canine partners, renewing bonds that often are indescribable, even mysterious.

Anderson: Canine-human bond strong; hunter-dog bond stronger still

Hunting dogs revel with their handlers in acute forms of symbiosis, from which stories unfold that sometimes are heartwarming and other times sidesplitting.
Mikhail Pearthree of Minneapolis was trolling a big crankbait across Bde Maka Ska when he hooked this 54.5-inch muskie, a size fish unheard of in a me

Anderson: Angler with a passion catches monster muskie on Bde Maka Ska

Lurking in the Minneapolis lake was a 54.5-inch muskie. Mikhail Pearthree found it and engaged it in a battle that spun his canoe before hauling it in.
The Flagman, Randy Bartz, who died recently, will be missed at Game Fair this year. Bartz was consumed with the idea of attracting geese close to him.

Anderson: Impassioned by geese, 'Flagman' saw possibilities

Randy Bartz, a Game Fair stalwart, will be remembered for his cunning at bamboozling geese.
Minnesota anglers have waited more than a year and a half to again enjoy Canada’s pristine waters and many angling opportunities.

Anderson: Welcome to Canada? Border reopens this week, with restrictions

Beginning Monday an entirely new chapter of border-crossing stories will be written as Canada again allows Americans to cross. But not all Americans. Here's what you need to know.
As the sun set over the Cavity Lake fire near the Gunflint Trail in 2006, a golden glow of smoke filled the air near the Trail’s end boat launch.

Anderson: A reminder that the ecosystem is dependent on periodic forest fires

Fires have played a historical role in developing Minnesota's ecosystems, particularly those of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its adjacent Canadian counterpart, Quetico Provincial Park.
Anderson: Anglers flock to Mille Lacs, happy to catch — and release — walleyes

Anderson: Anglers flock to Mille Lacs, happy to catch — and release — walleyes

Launch boats are sold out on some nights during strong walleye bite.
A baseball star with a fishing name, Mike Trout landed a nice northern Wednesday in the Twin Cities before the Twins-Angels series began at Target Fie

Some guy named Trout caught a big northern in Minnesota

Angels star Mike Trout hit a Minnesota lake before the series against the Twins and showed he's as good with a fishing rod as he is with a bat.
Veteran guide and former bait shop owner Marv Koep, left, with Mike Arms, a retired Catholic priest. The two are longtime fishing friends.

Anderson: Hot days in July, fishing for walleyes, more rigamarole

Challenge is the point, not necessarily the number of fish caught.
John Helland, who died in June at age 76, was known for showing no sign of partisanship and for developing legislation that protected hunting and fish

Anderson: Conservation groups, legislators mourn Helland, driver of environment policy

John Helland was a bureaucrat for decades, and "his work lives on in Minnesota."
In October, federal wildlife officials announced the removal of the wolf’s endangered species protections.

Anderson: Wolves need managing in Minnesota, period.

Science tells us that, even if the powers that be do not.
The drought’s impact on their food sources could mean more nuisance activity from the state’s bear population.

Anderson: Minnesota's intense drought has different impact for different critters

Not all species suffer equally, and some actually benefit.
Virginians Luke Konson, left, and Daniel Balserak, both 19, passed on going to college last fall and instead are traveling the U.S., intending to catc

Anderson: Every-state fishermen tick down to a final few

Daniel Balserak and Luke Konson still seek the state fish of Hawaii and Alaska, and then they'll head home for brook trout and a goal completed.
The Raptor Center will open again to the public; paddling options abound; and a Fourth of July cycling events returns.

Embrace your freedom to enjoy Minnesota's outdoors with these 12 ideas

From seeing wildlife to self-powered fun, activities are opening up to meet any interests.
Blue-winged teal, hens as well as — shown here — drakes, will be legal fare along with cinnamon teal and green-winged teal during a new five-day S

Anderson: New teal season might push ducks away

The DNR's management doesn't match waterfowlers' thinking.
Domestic deer farms also will still be in business, continuing the chronic wasting disease (CWD) threat they pose not only to the state’s 1 million

Anderson: Legislature could have done more to staunch CWD threat

An effort to stop new deer farms failed; good news is that parks will stay open.
Fishing with Dad will be a scene that plays out all over the state today.

Anderson: Fatherhood is at its best in the physical world

In this country, fathers aren't as present in their kids' lives as they once were. Those fathers who share activities with their children outdoors are especially well-positioned for positive gains.
A typical campsite at a Boy Scout Camp includes tents, a table, dirt, and dirty clothes drying on a rope.

Anderson: If you're camping on a budget, here's how it can be done

For some people, the challenge of looking for bargains is part of the fun.
Management of the state’s natural resources and outdoor recreation can’t be sustained at its current level because of a declining contributor base

Anderson: DNR leader Strommen turns to the people for help

Minnesota DNR commissioner Sarah Strommen later this month will ask a panel of non-DNR employees for ideas on what to fund and how to fund it.
Attendees of the national Backcountry Hunters and Anglers rendezvous held last weekend in Missoula, Mt., gather to hear campfire stories of sometimes

Anderson: Smaller-scale conservation groups doggedly pursue stewardship

1,500-strong Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is among organizations dedicated to protecting land and natural resources.
Rain has been scarce in the north. Consequently, there is little current in this big border lake. But crappie, walleye and northern pike fishing has b

Anderson: The time is now for fishing the peak of the Minnesota season

Experiencing the best of Minnesota's fishing.
Canadian fishing lodges dependent on American clients continue to suffer under the border closure.

Anderson: Plans in Canada are murky as resorts continue to suffer

Border news Up North remains bad, and Canadian lodges dependent on U.S. visitors continue to suffer.
Community members are mourning the loss of conservation officer Sarah Grell, 39, who died in the line of duty Monday.

Anderson: Late DNR officer Grell was an enforcer and an ally

Sarah Grell's death this week was felt far beyond the umbrella of her service.
The barely 1 foot of topsoil on Jeff Broberg’s farm in Elba Township could have been addressed and handled by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on

Anderson: Citizen-legislative committee on resources still being steered by politics

The commission's problems stem almost entirely from imbalance. Its membership disparity of 10 legislators and seven citizens too often taints its decisions. It wasn't supposed to be.
McArdle’s Resort om Lake Winnibigoshish will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025. The resort has been in the same family for 42 years.

Anderson: Resort life is declining; some wouldn't have it any other way

It's a declining industry for family-run resorts, but long-timers are in it for the long haul and are reporting that business is very good.
Steve Vilks of Naples, Fla., landed a walleye on Lake Winnibigoshish on Saturday, the opening day of the 2021 Minnesota inland fishing season.

Anderson: Lakes stocked, anglers stoked for fishing opener

The DNR planted seeds for a plentiful harvest to start the season.
Anderson: Opener wisdom. Walleyes can be finicky, but they're not smart

Anderson: Opener wisdom. Walleyes can be finicky, but they're not smart

The trick to remember for Saturday's fishing opener, especially in this wacky spring, will be finding walleyes, and less so catching them once they're located.
(Above) Paul Bower, flanked by Jim Tuller, left,  and James Powers mark their calendars to hit the lake on the Saturday after the state fishing opener

Anderson: Losing out on fishing opener leaves friendship with a void

This "Gang of Four'' has celebrated their own private fishing opener the second week of the season, overcoming personal tragedy.
Outdoors writer and TV show host Ron Schara, above, has been hunting wild turkeys since 1967. His new book features favorite stories from more than 50

Anderson: Schara on turkeys, and spilling blood and ink

Ron Schara has been hunting wild turkeys since 1967. His new book features favorite stories from more than 50 years of outdoor opportunities.
Anderson: 6 Minnesota-inspired innovations that changed the sport of fishing forever

Anderson: 6 Minnesota-inspired innovations that changed the sport of fishing forever

Revolutions in minnow imitations, bait presentation, lure distribution, boat design, electric trolling motors and fishing electronics are among these homegrown breakthroughs.
Walter Mondale, with longtime friend and current St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman, was an avid fisherman who traveled to Alaska to fish for salmon

Anderson: Fishing buddies savored visits from Mondale, and vice versa

Dropping lines — in a Minnesota lake, or in post-fishing cabin chats — remained essential in the Walter Mondale fabric.
Conservation of Minnesota’s treasured natural resources, such as Carlton Peak along the Superior Hiking Trail, is again under threat by efforts in t

Anderson: GOP effort to slash, shift Minnesota's conservation funding darkens future

Many are to blame for this tragedy-in-the-making. Among them in this legislative session are Senate Republicans who are fiddling with environmental funding proposals.
Most hunters, if they’re honest, have encountered potentially catastrophic gun situations of their own in the field.

Anderson: As sales surge, bearing arms means bearing responsibility

Gun ownership requires mental as well as physical skills, both of which require practice. Even so, most hunters, if they're honest, have encountered potentially catastrophic gun situations of their own in the field.
Strutting toms coming to a call is a dream scenario for Minnesota wild turkey hunters. The state’s spring season opens Wednesday.

Anderson: A Pandemic turkey hunt, the sequel

The new turkey season opens Wednesday on the heels of increased license sales in 2020.
A male road cyclist goes for an early morning ride on a country road. He shares the road with an oncoming truck going the opposite direction in the ot

Anderson: Just a wave? Friendly gestures on the road are affirming.

The time-honored slight wave of a hand or fingers over the top of a steering vehicle, acknowledge to the driver or rider of an oncoming vehicle that things are all right.
Retired Department of Natural Resources Whitewater Wildlife Management Area assistant wildlife manager Bob Tangen discussed a cutting of oak trees at

Anderson: Aggressive logging in Minn. bluff country threatens wildlife

In recent years, a new DNR management scheme has been implemented that in some cases places wildlife benefits secondary to Whitewater Wildlife Management Area's timber production.
The Department of Natural Resources has proposed changes to the waterfowl season.

Anderson: Latest proposed changes to waterfowl season don't add up

Say what you will about Minnesota waterfowl managers, they're not shy about revealing their belief that the primary reason ducks exist in Minnesota is to get shot.
River guide Dick Grzywinski has found Mississippi River walleye and sauger fishing excellent in this early spring as the fish move up to the Red Wing

Anderson: Like spring, Mississippi River rush arrives early

Walleyes, saugers and anglers cluster from Lake Pepin to Red Wing dam.
John Weyrauch pumped maple sap from a vat to a similar vat in the back of his pickup. Weyrauch’s vacuum tube system has made collecting sap easier a

Anderson: Do-it-yourself maple syrup producers up their game

Whether atop ice cream or pancakes, French toast or oatmeal, real maple syrup made by one's own hand is an unmatched delight.
Into the wild: Nature is good. More is better, especially these days

Into the wild: Nature is good. More is better, especially these days

Unplugging with longer trips drives deeper into the heart and mind, too.
Sarah Strommen spoke in 2019 after Gov.-elect Tim Walz announced she will lead the DNR.

Anderson: DNR's plan to divert funds intended for habitat purchases draws fire

The department wants to shift money intended for buying habitat to be used for other purposes.
Wisconsin’s DNR was up against some factors it could not control when a February wolf hunt caused a national outcry.

Anderson: Lessons from Wisconsin's controversial wolf hunt worth examining

A highly unusual combination of events, including a lawsuit by an out-of-state hunting group, forced the Wisconsin DNR to hold a February wolf hunt it had not anticipated.
After a drone gets an infrared image of a fawn and its location, the drone snaps a color image like the one above to confirm. Then biologists run in t

Anderson: Drones helping modernize deer counts through locating fawns

The whereabouts of deer can stymie wildlife biologists. Enter now the drone, whose usefulness has only recently been realized in determining deer and other wildlife populations.
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in January she would announce a new funding mechanism for her department and, presumably, for Minnesota

Anderson: State's conservation funding needs are clear. Answers? Not so much

Minnesota's lands and waters and fish and wildlife are under pressure as never before. And we have an outdated conservation model
With the second summer of the pandemic approaching, many Minnesota resorts are booking up fast. People want to get away, the resort owners say, and th

Anderson: This season, resorts beckon to the pandemic-weary

Most still have openings for this summer. But based on early bookings, they expect record or near-record years as the nation starts to emerge from the pandemic.
Fella, an 11-month-old Labrador retriever, with his first-ever goose — a bird he circled and barked at before retrieving in September.

Anderson: Training dogs and long walks are gifts these days

During the pandemic, time is what many of us have more of, not less, and not utilizing it to some good end might be regretted when more normal days return.
Seeking warmth and protection from snow, two whitetails bedded down on a winter’s day. Deer can survive extreme cold like Minnesota is experiencing.

Anderson: Even in this cold, deer can endure bitter winters

Minimal snow cover has made this recent cold snap in Minnesota easier for deer to survive.
Gunflint Lake was frozen and snow covered with a view into Canada on Monday, February 1, 2021. ]

Gunflint Trail's backwoods living is still a draw; so, too, is a fast internet

Of all that has changed over centuries along the Gunflint Trail, the greeting that pines whisper to old-timers and newcomers alike has been constant.
Minnesota’s Critical Habitat license plates are increasingly popular with vehicle owners. But with record-level revenue from the plates’ sale, the

Anderson: Critical Habitat license-plate program veering from its dedicated mission

A closer look at the DNR's license plate Critical Habitat program reveals the agency in recent years has only minimally deployed license plate funds to preserve habitat.
Are some state wildlife management areas (WMA) suitable for user groups other than hunters? A concept unveiled at the recent DNR Roundtable suggests s

Anderson: Wildlife management areas can foster a greater appreciation of nature

The notion of making some wildlife management areas more inviting is taking shape, amid questions about timber harvesting.
Weighing a mother bear in March 2019 were, from left, University of Minnesota graduate student Spencer Rettler, Department of Natural Resources volunt

Anderson: Mystery around bears' reproduction is a reminder of their balancing act

Minnesota wildlife managers want to minimize nuisance-bear complaints while satisfying hunters' desires, while also, most important, maintaining a healthy, stable bruin population.