Staff Directory 10645191

Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4213
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Tony Kennedy is an outdoors writer covering Minnesota news about fishing, hunting, wildlife, conservation, camping, natural resource management, public land, forests and water.

T"A Minnesota native, Kennedy lives in the Twin Cities and on land surrounding a Driftless Area trout stream. Previously, he was an investigative reporter at the Star Tribune, an Associated Press newsman and a beat writer covering the environment, aviation, state politics and police. His journalism career started at Marquette University, a small-town newspaper in Indiana and The St. Cloud Times. Kennedy's wife is an inner-city kindergarten teacher and their two boys are crazy about hockey and the outdoors.
Recent content from Tony Kennedy
One of the 1,300 spruce tree tops the agency recently seized from alleged thieves who entered a public forest without a harvest permit to cut and sell

'Thieving in the woods': DNR officers try to corral spruce top pirates

Conservation officers have turned up at least 15,000 pieces headed for back-channel selling.
The survey overestimated last year’s duck harvest in Minnesota.

Small game survey shows greater hunting success for pheasants, grouse

Minnesota small game hunters enjoyed a higher rate of success for most species last year, including pheasants, according to the annual survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.
Trevor Montez, center, steered his mud boat through a backwater on the Mississippi River on his family’s return from the state duck season opener no

Duck-crazy Cottage Grove family lives to hunt

In an era when conservationists and wildlife managers are yearning for an injection of youth to reverse a decades-long decline in waterfowl hunting, Tyler, Trevor, Travis and 16-year-old Tanner Montez are bucking the trend.
Hunters hunkered in cover and waited for ducks to arrive near the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Weaver, Minn.

Judging from opener, Minnesota is seeing a revival of duck hunting

Counter to recent years, stamp sales are up and reports are positive.
Off-highway vehicle use in Minnesota, like that among ATVs, has increased since the pandemic hit.

Fatal mix: More off-road vehicles, reckless drivers create surge in deaths

So far this year, an unprecedented surge in ATV ridership across Minnesota has led to 20 fatal accidents — more deaths than the state normally sees in a year.
A walleye caught on Mille Lacs earlier this year.

Fall walleye fishing on Mille Lacs after July shutdown is successful

Walleye harvest by state-licensed anglers totaled 64,339 pounds through August; the 2020 allotment was 87,800 pounds.
Phased logging has proven to be a great way to improve habitat for wildlife like grouse.

Ruffed Grouse Society project would improve Minnesota's degrading hunter walking trails

Ruffie group's push for trail upgrades comes as hunter numbers decline.
Lucky 7 Bear Bait supplies hunters with sweets rejected for human consumption.

How sweet it is: Cambridge couple lead the nation in bear bait trade

Walk-up sales at the nation's biggest provider of bulk bear bait are just a fraction of overall operations, but Jen Carlson and her husband, Cory, enjoy their customers' hunting tales and bear photos as much now as they did 21 years ago.
Don Pereira, the former fisheries chief for the state of Minnesota, joined a multi-species fishing club after his retirement. The Waterdogs have been

Old-school Waterdogs stick to the ways of their fishing club

Founded by two conservation-minded anglers who wanted to bond with fishermen who would "take to the water like dogs," the old-school club is thriving after 38 years
In this photo from 2013, DNR biologists Steve Merchant, left, and Lou Cornicelli talk about the decline in Minnesota's moose population.

Minnesota DNR's top wildlife scientist departs agency

Lou Cornicelli led the state's effort to stop chronic wasting disease in deer.
Fishing guide Matt Quick of St. Michael distributed tackle and other gear to, clockwise from bottom, Andy Schneider, Jake Gundry and Josh Cocking.

A little fishing tackle goes a long way after kids' stolen gear replenished

Someone stole the fishing gear of three 12-year-olds in St. Michael, but a pro fishing guide led an effort to replenish it.
Theories abound on how Canada’s closed border will affect duck hunting this year. People seem to be in agreement that thousands of Americans will tr

With Canada closed, duck hunters will pile into North Dakota this year

Heading north to Canada likely is not an option, so Minnesota waterfowlers are expected, in large numbers, to try North Dakota instead.
YMCA’s Camp Menogyn does more than lead teens on wilderness trips into the Boundary Waters. Guides also train campers for backpacking, paddling and

YMCA cuts affecting Camp Menogyn and Camp Widjiwagan cause controversy

Glen Gunderson, chief executive president of the nonprofit association, has successfully allayed some fears that the YMCA could be losing interest in camping. But his strong reassurances haven't ended the controversy.
Kevin Nelson led a tour at the Kettle Falls Hotel in Voyageurs National Park, a site to benefit from new federal funding.

Minnesota's outdoor gems stand to gain from landmark government act

Voyageurs Park Superintendent Bob DeGross said the blockbuster act raises hopes for restoration of many undeveloped historic sites inside the boundaries of Minnesota's leading national park property.
Deer head drop boxes like this one in southeastern Minnesota have become a fixture during recent deer hunts

DNR changes deer test process in CWD zones, has other new regulations

Illnesses affecting humans and animals drive many adjustments.
Flood waters overtook the intersection of 12th and Florence Street in Baldwin, Wis. in the early hours of June 29.

Rush River trout ride out damaging flood in western Wisconsin

Even young trout survived as did most stream banks.
Liaison Ray Ruiz brings a fresh urban perspective and zeal to his DNR job. He also appears to have the hookup on landing bass on the Mississippi River

Fishing in the city: DNR's Ruiz shows off hotspots near downtown

Ray Ruiz's job with the Department of Natural Resources is to work with diverse metro area community groups to increase participation in fishing.
A buoy at the lakeshore in Angle Inlet. The marker matches the design of its "sister" buoy in Key West, Fla.

It's not an easy trek, but Angle Inlet still can be reached

The temporary closure of Canada's border has cut off the only land route to Angle Inlet. For now, nearly all traffic is by boat. The routes vary from 30 to 50 miles long and can be dangerous if ill-equipped or inexperienced.
Turkey hunting increased this spring, but groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation are hurting financially. The group laid off 51 employees thi

Pandemic has harmed fundraisers that conservation groups depend on

Despite the surge in hunting and fishing during the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota's wildlife conservation groups are retrenching to cope with a fundraising crisis.
Mille Lacs walleye

Fishing has been bonkers: On Mille Lacs, lots of anglers and walleyes

The head-spinning measurements of activity on the lake, as reported in the most recent DNR data, mesh with reports by fishing guides, bait store owners and conservation officers.
Collin Cody of Grand Rapids learned to captain a drift boat on the trout rivers of Colorado before moving back to his home state.

Collin Cody and his drift boat guide others to fly fish on Mississippi

The teacher leverages his passion for fly fishing and drifting into a unique Minnesota guide service.

DNR pivots on fishing tournaments: Live weigh-ins allowed

Previous outdoor recreation guidelines set by the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health prohibited live weigh-ins.
A wild elk herd in northwestern Minnesota crossed grassland. The Department of Natural Resources is working with the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior

Far from done, but a comeback plan for elk north of Hinckley advances

Project taken up by DNR and Fond du Lac Band could include moving some elk to Hinckley area.
Vickie Jones led the processing line at Mohn Fish Market on a recent day. Her father, Ralph Mohn, is at the end of the line. The family business was f

Twin Cities appetites keeping Mississippi River fish market alive

At least 85% of the daily catch at Mohn Fish Market is purchased by retailers along University Avenue in St. Paul and in other Asian enclaves in the metro area.
Paul McEnroe in 2009. The longtime investigative journalist, who worked 35 years for the Star Tribune, has died at age 69.

Paul McEnroe, legendary Minnesota investigative journalist, dies at 69

McEnroe developed an unrivaled trove of sources ranging from hotel bellhops to federal judges to strangers to break news around the world.
Jon Stravers listened for cerulean warblers on a backwater of the Mississippi River near his home in McGregor, Iowa. Stravers is a free-sprited, indep

Stravers serves as eyes and ears of the Driftless Area

Researcher "Hawk Daddy" is part of restoration effort near southeast part of state.
Fishermen competed in the Hmong Bass Fishing Tournament on the St. Croix River. Organizers of the long-held event canceled it this year. That’s the

Fish on: More than 250 tournaments in Minnesota still on as planned

The tournaments are going forward in Minnesota this season despite significant rule changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Venizon bratwurst.

Sale of wild venison over the counter brings criminal charges

Two-year case centered on a butcher who owns a Circle Pines meat shop.
Minnesota’s 2020 walleye stamp was created by Mapleton artist Josh Evan. Purchasing the $5 stamp is voluntary.

Sales of walleye stamp spike 60%, proceeds go to stocking fingerlings

"It's great to see and it could still be higher," said Jim Bedell of Hackensack, a longtime citizen volunteer member of the state walleye management committee.
Daniel Belous, 15, held up a smallmouth bass he’d just caught Wednesday night at the Rum River Dam in Anoka He was released it after measuring it an

New angling generation: Boom in licenses for teens adds to opener

Through Tuesday, the DNR had sold more than 13,000 fishing licenses for Minnesota youngsters who are 16 and 17. That's an increase of 99 percent for the same period in 2019.
Fishermen on Lake of the Woods.

Can't do much else? Minnesota fishing license sales are exploding

Local bait shop owners are thinking that Minnesotans, including a lot of youngsters, are turning to fishing to fill a void left by the closure of organized sports.
Sunfish, bluegills and crappies — collectively known as panfish — are the most sought-after finned species in Minnesota.

Anglers should consider alternative waters and species on fishing opener

Staying close for next week's Minnesota fishing opener? Plan for crowds and consider alternative spots and species.
Launches like the one run by Twin Pines Resort on Lake Mille Lacs were shut down by pandemic safety concerns.

Pandemic fishing rules spread suffering to Minnesota guides, charters and launches

Guided trips, charters and launches are shut down.
Walleye fishing has been allowed continuously on the Mississippi River, but the governor’s order Friday will loosen some restrictions on outdoor act

Shooting ranges, game farms, bait shops can open in Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order Friday expanding outdoor recreation in the state.
DNR fisheries biologists and other staff trap walleyes in the spring to produce eggs that eventually will be stocked as fry or fingerlings.

DNR cancels fish egg-collecting operations owing to close-contact work

State fisheries officials have canceled all egg-taking operations this spring for all species of fish, a decision that will immediately affect walleye stocking on 330 lakes.
Crystal Springs Hatchery Supervisor Luke Jadwin.

Coronavirus concerns extend to traditional spring fish egg-taking, stocking in Minnesota

Already this spring, South Dakota, Michigan and Indiana have chosen not to conduct egg-take operations. In North Dakota and Wisconsin, operations will be reduced.
Vados Bait & Tackle co-owner Eric Stokes, in protective gloves, did business with customers outside the shop Thursday. He said currently business revo

What will this year's fishing opener look like? 'Let's see what happens'

Even though the celebratory Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is canceled, the walleye and northern pike season is set to open as planned next month.
Highway 61 leads travelers along the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth to Grand Marais and the (now closed) Canadian border.

Anglers pondering whether to travel to fishing places where residents don't want visitors

Thousands of anglers across Minnesota and Wisconsin are having to decide whether to travel or stay home.
It’s relaxing to have private time fishing in a river while maintaining social distancing to the max.

What does 'stay at home' mean for life in Minnesota's outdoors?

In places such as Red Wing, where spring walleye fishing already is booming on the Mississippi River, the mental health benefits already are obvious.
As the ice melts off the northern edge of Minnesota and the walleye begin their run to bite everything they can to fatten up before spawning season, d

'Walleye capital' Baudette, county close boat ramps to Rainy River amid crisis

Closures are attempt to keep coronavirus out of the border region.
The long-awaited overhaul of Marsh Lake in southern Minnesota is finally complete after years of work that included rerouting the Pomme de Terre River

Feds, state putting the marsh back in Marsh Lake

A plan 20 years in the works is bringing life and wildlife back to the lake in far western Minnesota.
The new grant will sustain existing Walk-In Access agreements in Minnesota.

Grant will give Minnesota hunters more room for 'walk-in access'

The hunting privileges on 28,000 acres of private land would have expired without an infusion of cash to extend the state's agreements with landowners.
This walleye was caught on Lake Mille Lacs in 2015.

Mille Lacs walleye fishing won't allow for keepers this year

Even worse this year for state-licensed anglers is that catch-and-release opportunities will cease in July under a one-month closure.
The upcoming Northwest Sportshow at the Minneapolis Convention Center (the children's fishing pond is shown from 2015) was canceled because of the COV

Outdoors world not immune to COVID-19 effects

Fly Fishing Expo, Northwest Sportshow canceled; Turkey Classic started, stopped.
Taxpayers paid more than $500,000 for deer farm buyouts the last three years

Taxpayers paid more than $500,000 for deer farm buyouts the last three years

$129,000 in Minnesota last year eclipsed prior two years combined.

Minnesota and Wisconsin unite fishing regulations on Mississippi River

New limits are more restrictive to protect populations of walleyes, crappie and others.
Photo of Asian carp caught in the Mississippi River near Winona, Minn., by commercial fishermen.

Solution for a scourge? U scientist progressing with invasive carp-killer tool

Sam Erickson, a 25-year-old University of Minnesota researcher, plans to produce batches of male carp that would destroy the eggs of female carp during spawning season.
A $25 surcharge would be added for nonresidents to hunt or fish in South Dakota under a bill that has moved to the governor's desk.

$25 wildlife stamp likely for out-of-state hunters and anglers in South Dakota

Backed by outdoors people and groups, the surcharge for nonresidents would raise nearly $6 million per year.
Whitetail deer

CWD threat prompts deer-feeding ban in seven more Minn. counties

Expansion is related to discoveries last year of chronic wasting disease at captive deer facilities.
In western Minnesota, Lac qui Parle County is known for its wildlife habitat.

Fight over land sale to DNR moves to court in western Minnesota

Landowner who wants to sell is suing Lac qui Parle County.
FILE - In this March 1, 2018 file photo, the Remington name is seen etched on a model 870 shotgun at Duke's Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa. For years, t

Legislation would get rid of Minnesota shotgun-only deer hunting zones

Legislator says rules are obsolete, were created for herd-control in scarce areas.
As part of the BP legal settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded Minnesota agencies more than $6 million for loon conservation efforts.

Money to prevent lead poisoning of loons released to MPCA

Federal dollars for the public awareness effort derive from the U.S. settlement with British Petroleum over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

DNR revamps water safety policies, pays fine to settle violations in officer's drowning

Minnesota's conservation officers will be spot-checked by supervisors for compliance with new life jacket mandates as a result of policy changes stemming from last year's on-duty drowning of a game warden.
A trumpeter swan stretched on a pond north of Elk River.

Trumpeter swans continue to die in Vadnais Lake-area waters; lead suspected

Latest case is from bird found dead Feb. 3, DNR biologist says
Longtime friends Jan Parkins, left, of Hopkins, and Pat Dix, of Minnetonka, showed off their home away from home. They've covered 103,000 miles in tri

Minnesota pals love traveling by RV: 'We're looking for side roads, real life, people'

As hot as ever, RVing has taken Minnesota duo 103,000 miles – and counting.
A state wildlife management area in western Minnesota, October 2006. ORG XMIT: MIN2015101213391220

Money talks for public land retailers at Pheasant Fest

Field Report: The goal is to raise money at Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic to help acquire state land.
Large fish kills can occur in winters when deep snow piles on top of lake ice, reducing the oxygen fish need. DNR fisheries officials are worriedabout

Slush, deep snow creating fish kill worries on shallow lakes

Oxygen-limiting layers covering shallow lakes north of the metro area could cause some fish deaths a third straight year.
Whitetail deer

Counties strategize to dispose of deer carcasses, but work remains

Dumpsters alone can't ensure CWD containment.
Boatload of boats: Alumacraft boats, above, will be among the more than 700 on display at the Minnapolis Boat Show. The four-day event attracts plenty

Minnesota boating's time to shine rolls around with four-day Boat Show

The four-day event has 700+ boats, 230 exhibitors and draws 38,000 to Convention Center
Erich Nell of Minneapolis watched as his stepsons Sullivan Maland, 6, and Harrison Maland, 9, tried fishing during a free event Jan. 11 at Fort Snelli

Bringing ice fishing to kids' level is goal again this winter

Weekend events are geared to getting young people into the action.
The Minnesota DNR’s new No Child Left Inside grant program is intended to get more kids doing activities outside

No Child Left Inside program offers grants for wide range of activities

The spanking new program recently announced its first 59 awards, including $5,000 for Pillager Public Schools to buy enough Nordic ski equipment to outfit a classroom.

CWD, lower walleye limit on agendas at Capitol

State lawmakers attuned to hunting and fishing will revisit chronic wasting disease (CWD) next month when they return to St. Paul
Steve Porter, left, and his son, Dillan, displayed a trophy deer, named Heart Attack, top, at Wisconsin Game Fest in September.

Sportsmen's Show on collision course with DNR over trophy buck exhibit

Minnesota deer farmer Steve Porter plans to bring his monster bucks to the Sportsmen's Show in defiance of an emergency rule against moving such deer.
The early burst of snow has ushered in an early start to the snowmobile season, with riders preparing their vehicles and attacking the trails early, t

Crush of snowmobile action amplifies sport's hazards and harms

December snowfalls that dumped 15 to 40 inches of snow across the state have magnified snowmobiling's safety hazards and harms while land damage and vehicle violations are mounting in eager snowmobilers' wake.
A truck leaves the Chippewa National Forest, in Cass County, Minn., with a load of logs

Wildlife advocates angling for control of the axe

Under a new statewide timber-cutting plan about to be implemented by the DNR, stately forests favored by fishers and other wild creatures will become choice "stands" for sale to Minnesota's wood products industry.

Four-year plans to increase habitat for ducks and pheasants released

DNR wants to help ducks and pheasants to thrive.
A massive trophy whitetail.

Chronic wasting disease creeping, not exploding in southeastern Minnesota's deer herd

No disease spike was seen, despite increased testing.

CWD detected on Douglas County deer farm

The announcement by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health didn't specify the location of the farm, but the finding is certain to introduce state-funded disease surveillance of the area's wild deer herd.

Wisconsin deer harvest plunges

Preliminary results from the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday indicate a whopping 25% drop in the state's overall deer harvest compared to a year ago.
First deer bring out smiles

First deer bring out smiles

Stories compiled by Dennis Anderson
A buck boasting a fantastical rack of antlers moved along a fence line at Autumn Antlers hunting preserve in Long Prairie. Such a buck could cost upwa

Chronic wasting disease puts Minnesota deer farms under fire

Fenced hunting preserves have become a flash point over who is to blame for the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Following procedure, Brian Beck (left) of Princeton, went over paperwork with DNR biologist Andy Tri (holding clipboard) while checking in two deer at

Deer hunting at a fast pace inside Minnesota's newest CWD zone

The DNR is diligently screening carcasses for chronic wasting disease during an expanded deer hunt.

Escaped buck from deer farm killed by bow hunter, chronic wasting disease test results pending

A 27-point trophy buck that escaped from an Olmsted County deer farm in April was killed by a bow hunter last week on public land near Elba, state officials confirmed Tuesday.
Are white-tailed deer susceptible to carrying a common farmland chemical in their systems? Research says it’s possible.

DNR study seeks farm chemical levels in wild deer

A DNR study, relying on hunters, will ascertain those rates in wild deer across the state
2020 Pheasant Stamp Competition * First Place: Mark Kness of albert lea, Minn.

Interest in duck stamps, and competitions, on the decline

The drastic downturn in enthusiasm for wildlife art has led to more than one conversation at the state DNR over whether the tradition of stamps and contests is worth keeping.