Staff Directory 6370563

Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4213

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
A new deer hunters group is challenging the management of gray wolves.

New Minnesota deer hunters group wants changes in wolf politics

With meetings across the north, Hunters For Hunters seeks to amplify voices of people who believe Minnesota's wolf population is a problem going unaddressed.
Deer hunters in Wisconsin enjoyed comfortable weather during the primary firearms season, but they harvested substantially fewer deer than a year ago.

Wisconsin firearms deer harvest by hunters takes a dive, too

With some data echoing Minnesota's plight, hunters in Wisconsin took nearly 18% fewer deer than last year, DNR says.
The latest harvest report showed a cumulative kill of 130,812 deer so far this fall, a 7.45% decline compared to a year ago.

Even with solid weather, Minnesota's whitetail harvest continues to disappoint

The primary firearms hunt yielded fewer deer than desired by DNR wildlife managers, who also pointed out declining license sales.
Scott Ward of Inver Grove Heights said fishing big walleyes on Mille Lacs in November was like stealing time.

Mille Lacs passes hype test as a walleye angler's dream in late fall

Tales of big walleyes after Halloween rang true on a November joyride in Garrison Bay, and a good bite is expected through winter.
Hunters at deer camps in northeastern Minnesota struggled once again to find whitetails on opening weekend of the firearms deer season.

Data and observations back it up: Not much bang in Minnesota deer opener

Wolf complaints and vacant deer camps were widespread up north, where hunting was the worst.
Equipped with copper ammunition and a 20-gauge shotgun, Jeremiah Lee, 13, of Hastings hunted Saturday, accompanied by his father Cody.

Like many Minnesotans, young hunter had visions of a buck on deer opener

A 13-year-old Hastings boy was among Minnesota's thousands in pursuit of success on opening day.
Trae Waynes and a partner are sweeping up land in western Wisconsin bluff country, which also is prime whitetail buck territory.

Former Viking Trae Waynes leaves the football field for the forest

The former Vikings defensive back is making a splash in western Wisconsin as a hunting outfitter offering a curated whitetail deer experience. "I knew I didn't want to play football forever," he says.
Two men were accidently shot in separate incidents during the youth firearms deer season.

2 hunting mentors accidentally shot during youth firearms deer season

The cases in Sherburne and Hubbard counties over MEA weekend involved mistakes by young hunters. The statewide deer season opens Nov. 4.
King’s Cove Marina in Hastings will wrap more than 350 boats during the fall pull-out season.

Legislation seeks solution for sea of leftover boat shrink wrap

Rep. Larry Kraft, DFL-St. Louis Park, has introduced a bill to make producers of the film responsible for its collection and recycling.
A University of Minnesota wolf research group set out to debunk this billboard purchased by deer hunters.

Researchers push against anti-wolf billboard in northern Minnesota

A roadside billboard along Hwy. 53 on the Iron Range has caused a controversy by suggesting that legalized hunting of wolves could save tens of thousands of baby deer.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a say in how the Department of Natural Resources manages logging on public hunting lands that receive tens of m

DNR will receive federal aid held up by logging practices that triggered reprimand

The Fish and Wildlife Service had halted the funding over concerns the DNR was failing to consider wildlife when logging on hunting lands.
Minnesota’s duck hunting season opened Saturday with a strong harvest.

Minnesota duck hunting gets off to a flying — and in some places, record-making — start

The DNR's waterfowl specialist graded opening weekend as "very good to excellent," and some records were set.
The pheasant population in Minnesota remained resilient through a tough winter.

State bear harvest down; outlooks promising for grouse, pheasants

Fall hunting is almost in full swing, with duck and goose hunters joining on Saturday with the opening of their primary season.
Minnesota duck hunters will stage themselves in blinds all around the state for Saturday’s season opener.

Optimism over Minnesota duck opener tempered by 'so-so' surveys

Spring counts were called "so-so at best," but production of ducklings and goslings seemed to go well, DNR said.
Logging on state wildlife management areas continues to draw criticism from DNR’s own wildlife managers, five years into the agency’s Sustainable

Internal DNR survey results: 90% disagree with approach to logging

A survey was sent to wildlife section employees about the agency's handling of logging on lands where wildlife considerations are required to come first.
The DNR says Gull Lake has the right stuff to be a fishing destination for quality northern pike, without affecting the core walleye fishery.

Famous Minnesota walleye lake in line for a northern upgrade

Gull Lake could see an upgrade of its northern pike population if the Minnesota DNR finalizes a proposed experimental fishing regulation. The northerns are often an accidental catch for anglers.
A rooster rises from the tall grass.

Pheasant population doubles in state's southwest corner; declines elsewhere

But a DNR summary of this year's survey said pheasant indices remain well below their long-term averages in most other regions of Minnesota.
Jim Denney, right, and Connor Halsa met and displayed the money found at the bottom of the Lake of the Woods.

Legendary catch: Minnesota teen reels in wallet with $2,000, returns it

Connor Halsa of Moorhead returned every penny and gained a friend for life when connected with Iowa livestock hauler Jim Denney.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has had $22 million in federal wildlife habitat grants put on hold for violating logging regulations.

What happens when the federal government shuts off state wildlife habitat funds?

The federal wildlife program in the news this month for being violated by the Minnesota DNR has given more than $400 million into the state over the past 20 years
Minnesota’s early hunting season for teal, now in its third year, overlaps with the state’s early September harvest of wild rice.

New Minnesota rules will keep teal hunters away from tribal ricing areas

Ricers on the White Earth Nation and Leech Lake reservations won't have to share water with duck hunters during the five-day teal season starting Sept. 2
Four years after DNR’s own wildlife managers and foresters complained about logging quotas, the issue still shrouds the agency.

DNR abruptly pauses logging on federally aided hunting lands

The pause is the latest development in the ongoing conflict over efforts to make sure the DNR's timber sales are mainly for wildlife purposes — not to satisfy relentless timber quotas.
Logging on federally funded state hunting land is on hold while the DNR makes amends to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

$22 million withheld from DNR until it follows rules for logging sales

Until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is satisfied that its policies are no longer being violated, it will withhold the grant money that was scheduled to go to the state.
Minnesota’s 2023 Hunting and Trapping Regulations rulebook is now available online. Printed copies will be published late, toward the end of August.

DNR lowers bag limits in 38 deer permit areas after tough winters

The policy coincides with statewide rule changes, including expanded use of crossbows during archery season.
Live bait dealer Marshall Koep examined a sample of fatheads he trapped June 2 from a farm pond he rents in Otter Tail County.

As concerns mount, state's live bait trappers battling severe shortage

Overall demand hasn't grown over the years. But today's trappers face a shrinking universe of wild lakes, ponds, rivers and streams suitable for state-approved harvesting.
Wildfire smoke made for a hazy sunset May 16 in the metro.

Surprised? Wildfire smoke isn't having big impact on northern Minnesota

Parts of Minnesota have been largely unaffected, yet some outfitters, resort owners and others still have fielded a lot of questions.
A limited number of hunters are affected by a partial state ban against lead ammunition, but Federal Ammunition strongly opposes the move.

Federal Ammunition rips Minnesota DNR for lead ammo ban on some public lands

The company's president says it's a precursor to a possible broader ban after a directive affecting 56 Scientific and Natural Areas and some state park hunts.
Joey Vanyo, president of Minnesota Kayak Bass Fishing League, with an 18-inch smallmouth bass caught on Lake Koronis.

Fishing's new thing: Tournament angling for bass in souped-up kayaks

The tournaments, including one set for next month in Minneapolis, are designed for people who fish from kayaks but want more intensity than fun-centered lake outings.
Hunters will not be allowed to use lead ammo in 56 Scientific and Natural Areas.

DNR bans lead ammo on some state land, stops short of fishing tackle ban

Harmful to wildlife and habitat, lead ammo is now illegal in 56 Scientific and Natural Areas in Minnesota where hunting is allowed.
A hotshot crew prepared to fight the Spice Lake fire on June 17.

What the Forest Service and partners have learned about fighting wildfires in the wilderness

A command center in Grand Rapids monitors weather, tracks fuel loads — and stays at the ready.
Kevin Hinrichs, aka “The Dutchman,’’ telling stories behind the front desk at his Rainy River fishing resort.

Wit, wisdom and howls: Meet 'The Dutchman' of Minnesota's most 'sturgeony' fishing resort

"The Dutchman" howls like a wolf and likens himself to "Barbara Walters with a fishing pole." He'll teach you how to catch "dinos" on the Rainy River.
Morel mushrooms are a prize for Minnesota’s early-season foragers.

Conflict sprouts over wild mushroom hunting as DNR considers bag limits

A DNR official confirmed that collection limits are under consideration out of concern over unchecked increases in mushroom harvesting. Berry picking limits at state parks could also be proposed.
A jar full of laboratory-preserved deer ticks.

Are swallowed ticks spreading chronic wasting disease in wild deer?

University researchers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have identified a possible infection point for healthy deer during social grooming.
Captive fawns grazing on a farm owned by Scott Fier, president of the Minnesota Deer Farmers Association.

Death of deer farms a matter of time under new laws, group president says

Minnesota Deer Farmers Association president says owners are being unfairly crushed by new state legislation.
Aerial photo of the Spice Lake Fire in the BWCA where Forest Service officials are working on a public safety plan.

Wildfire west of Gunflint Trail in BWCA prompts closing part of area

U.S. Forest Service officials are working on a plan to suppress the blaze and close travel routes to keep paddlers safe.
Motorized towboat service has been part of the fabric of canoe country since before Congress adopted the BWCA Wilderness Act in the late 1970s.

The fight is on: Inside the battle to save the BWCA's motorized towboats

The U.S. Forest Service and a group of outfitters are pushing back against a lawsuit that seeks to ban the long-established shuttles to protect the solitude cherished by BWCA visitors.
Ely area native Willy Vosburgh is one of 18 BWCA outfitters authorized by the U.S. Forest Service to tow canoe groups on established routes to speed t

Judge declines to halt motorized towboat usage in BWCA lawsuit

A towboat usage limit of some kind could still result as the litigation continues. Outfitters have decried the lawsuit as elitist.
Thirteen deer hunters gathered at this camp near Tower, Minn., in 2012. Two of the hunters also had permits to shoot a wolf.

Guns, wolves cause split between Walz and popular deer hunting group

The event's original partner, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, is disgruntled over the governor's leadership on gun control and wolf hunting.
DNR’s outmoded Waterville fish hatchery will be rebuilt with up to $20 million in new money from a sweeping outdoors bill finalized by the Legislatu

Legislature passes jumbo outdoors bill with 'transformational' money

If you care about fishing, final legislation heading to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz might be considered a record catch. Hunters and visitors to state parks also will see improvements.
Walleye limits were common during opening weekend on Upper Red Lake.

Anglers find walleye heaven, fish kills on an opener when attendance sagged

Reports were upbeat in the north, but bad weather fouled the celebration on southern lakes. License sales were the lowest since 2014.
Scott Ward of Inver Grove Heights. right, and Jack Kennedy of Cottage Grove with an Opening Day walleye from Lake Sarah in Murray County.

Lake Sarah shines again: Minnesota Fishing Opener on the Prairie

Relentless rain, strong winds and a flood watch gave walleye chasers in southern Minnesota a morning to remember on a lake that showed a few glimpses of its star power.
State legislators voted for a moratorium on new deer farms in an effort to control chronic wasting disease.

Legislators vote for ban on new deer farms to fight wasting disease

The agreement would strengthen fencing requirements around captive whitetail herds and place new restrictions on importing captive deer from areas where CWD is a problem.
A plowed ice road on Rainy Lake inside Voyageurs National Park. A preliminary proposal would limit non-snowmobiles from traveling beyond the park’s

In fight over frozen Voyageurs lakes, vehicles could be restricted

A plan introduced by the superintendent at Voyageurs National Park would end free-ranging access to ice fishing by trucks, cars, all-terrain vehicles and other non-snowmobiles.
A towboat operator tied a canoe to an overhead rack ahead of taking a camping party into the BWCA.

Judge to decide fate of motorized towboats in the BWCA for 2023

An environmental group has sought to stop the longstanding practice, which is strongly supported by the U.S. Forest Service.
Upper Red Lake walleye anglers will be allowed to harvest five fish when the season opens May 13.

Walleye bag limit jumps to five on Upper Red Lake

An over-abundance of 15-inch walleyes triggered the move — the biggest bag limit since the lake was depleted of walleyes in the late 1990s.
Tim Englund of North Country Bait trapping golden shiners from a pond in Hubbard County.

Desperate bait dealers turn to DNR to address minnow shortage

The agency is exploring ways to lift harvest barriers for trappers who keep losing access to minnow ponds.
Ice-outs can vary by a month. This is how Mille Lacs looked on May 9, 2013.

Fishing opener's big question: Will heat take out the ice up north?

This week's blowtorch of warmth has eased some anxiety felt by anglers and resort owners. But there could be some photo finishes on lakes well north of the Twin Cities.
A bull moose in Minnesota’s north woods, captured by trail camera.

Biologist 'not hitting panic button' despite 30% drop in moose count

Minnesota's moose population estimate, arrived at each winter by aerial survey, dropped 30% this year but didn't raise alarms at the DNR.
A whitetail deer.

In Ely, outcry leads to added charges in case of three deer hit by truck

The driver, 20, told police he intended to slam into the deer, who were trapped on a local road, for laughs. "In 30 years of law enforcement, I never came across something this senseless," the city's former police chief said.
Strutting toms coming to a call is a dream scenario for Minnesota wild turkey hunters. The state’s spring season opens Wednesday.

Wild turkey master's sage advice: Make the gobbler hunt for you

Anticipating another season, Mike Foster has pursued wild turkeys for more than 40 years and still loves to hunt them.
Fishing Upper Red Lake for walleyes is a popular activity, but boundary negotiations could change that.

Upper Red Lake residents take 'wait-and-see' approach on tribal boundary issue

Community members are watching closely because the stakes are high, but there's a realization that any challenge would take years to unfold.
Upper Red Lake draws tons of walleye anglers from around the Upper Midwest.

Tribe wants to reclaim all of Upper Red Lake, a walleye mecca

Red Lake Nation tribal leaders say they are going to the U.S. Department of Interior with a longstanding grievance over boundary lines in hopes of bringing the entire northern Minnesota lake under their control.
Rush Creek near Lewiston, Minn., was the site last July of 2,500 dead fish. Investigators didn’t pinpoint the cause but said upstream runoff of manu

Lawmakers seeking to reform Minnesota's response to fish kills

House and Senate proposals push need for speed and greater attention to human health.
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.
Opposition to a proposed off-roading park began with yard signs. Now newly elected city officials have voted to exit the project

City of Houston votes to dump motorized trail project

The southeast city's defiant shift sets up a new chapter of conflict over moto-trails first proposed more than 14 years ago on a hilly, ecologically sensitive site.
A walleye statue in Garrison, Minn., sits on western shore of Mille Lacs. Harvest opportunities reflect the health of the fish.

DNR loosens Mille Lacs walleye fishing regulations for summer

The decision reflects signs of progress in lake's walleye population.
Keng Yang and Kaiya, his German Wirehaired Pointer, after a successful waterfowl hunt.

Hunting dog healed the divide between a Minnesota father and son

Hunting has become an all-consuming passion for Keng Yang after years of rejecting his father for hunting in the tradition of his Hmong culture.
Ely area native Willy Vosburgh is one of 18 BWCA outfitters authorized by the U.S. Forest Service to tow canoe groups on established routes to speed t

Wilderness group back in court to cut motorized towboats in BWCA

Complaint says lax enforcement by Forest Service led to a "freeway'' of motorized towboats.
Professional snowmobile racer David Fischer of the Twin Cities aboard his 2023 Polaris 850 Patriot Boost Assault. Fischer is among the experts who agr

Booze, inexperience cause rider deaths on rocket-fast snowmobiles

People always will like to go fast, as Hunter S. Thompson wrote. But speedy snowmobiles don't injure and kill people. In many cases, foolishness does.
Justin Morneau waits to bat in this 2013 file photo. On Saturday he’ll host the Justin Morneau Ice Fishing Classic on Mille Lacs.

Morneau goes from clubhouse to ice house to host Mille Lacs tourney

Former Twins star Justin Morneau says the fishing event strikes a chord with him because it helps families afford sports for their kids, a situation he experienced growing up.
Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park could get a visitor center if the Department of Natural Resources’ bonding request comes through.

DNR unveils funding request for capital improvement projects

The bonding portion of the agency's budget proposal brings the overall funding request to $553 million — mostly one-time money.
Fishing licenses and boat registrations would go up in price by various amounts if the Legislature goes along with fee increases proposed by the DNR.

DNR proposes higher fees for fishing licenses, boat registration, state parks

The higher fee requests to the Legislature are part of a sweeping DNR budget proposal that seeks more than $200 million in one-time funding.
Winter walleye harvest can vary greatly from year to year depending on ice and weather conditions.

Red Lake walleyes are biting, but winter harvest is behind the norm

Weather-related drop in ice fishing pressure bodes well for spring and summer walleye anglers.
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.
Marilyn Vetter, a board member at Pheasants Forever since 2015, will become the organization’s new president and CEO on Feb. 1.

Conservation group Pheasants Forever has new chief executive

Raised in North Dakota and living in western Wisconsin, Marilyn Vetter wants to focus on partnerships and membership.
Ray Tuholsky took a break from carving wooden lures to talk to passersby at the 2011 Minnesota Sportsmen’s Show at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.

A new year rite, Sportsmen's Show in St. Paul calls it quits

After a 53-year run, promoter foresees attendance declining from fears of downtown crime.
A plan by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to reintroduce elk to northeastern Minnesota has been in the works for years. DNR wildlife ch

New Minnesota public land projects to the fore in 2023

Developing new wildlife management area, moose habitat restoration, and focus on elk reintroduction are ahead.
A varied year — again — across the Minnesota outdoors landscape.

Outdoors coverage in 2022: A dozen stories we won't forget

From an updated wolf plan and BWCA crowd control to camping's (and a campground's) wild popularity, we look back on the hot topics and cool stories of 2022.
Glenn Del Giudice, shown in 1996, on a deer management project.

Del Giudice, longtime DNR researcher of state's wildlife, dies

Scientist Glenn Del Giudice helped produce foundational knowledge about deer and moose ecologies.
Odd Osland skis 4-5 times per week, here at Terrace Oaks Park  Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022  in Burnsville, Minn. Odd Osland is an elite skiier who still co

'Be persistent and enjoy winter': Cross-country skier, 81, still finds joy on the trails

Seventy years ago in the mountains of Norway, Odd Oslund and his friends would gather on Sundays to ski to a peak overlooking the North Sea. Now, the Apple Valley resident travels the world to ski competitively.
A tiny red maple seedling rises on a sizable chunk of land that was clear cut for timber harvesting at Canosia State Wildlife Management Area.

Watchdog group calls for tougher action against DNR on timber issue

Letter states "action item" agreement between DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn't meet compliance requirements.
The new management agreement on timber issues between DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reaffirms that logging on state wildlife lands must b

Mixed reaction from outdoors stakeholders to new pact on timber management issues

Industry cheers the agreement between the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but a retired wildlife manager calls it a nothing-burger.
Maturing red pine trees stand next a clear-cut area at Canosia State Wildlife Management Area northwest of Duluth.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service steps in at DNR to resolve logging feud

A new five-point agreement will give the federal agency a role in training state staff and monitoring forest management and relieving acrimony over logging on public hunting lands.
Sen. Foung Hawj, D-St. Paul, has been a frequent visitor with friends and family to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Majority shift in Minn. Senate leads way for new fish and game leader

Sen. Foung Hawj's committee will deal heavily with legislation and funding around hunting, fishing, conservation and recreation.
Ice teams from four Lake of the Woods fishing resorts in the Wheelers Point area now stand united as a result of the $20 million buyout.

New owners make cold-blooded investment in ice fishing on Lake of the Woods

A pair of private investors is betting a cool $20 million after buying four distinct resorts on Wheelers Point.
Sam Harris of Maple Grove with the spike buck he shot during firearms season at his family’s camp near Fergus Falls

Deer hunters finish primary gun season with less to show

DNR says adverse weather contributed to the markedly lower harvest across Minnesota.