Staff Directory 10644341

Dennis Anderson

Columnist | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4424
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

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
Harrison Smith, 24, of Willmar scanned the skies Saturday morning on the opener of the 2020 duck season. Smith and his father, Will, downed a couple o

Anderson: Visits to the Smith shack for duck hunting revives best of times

Memories abound from decades of visiting the Smith family's shack. You can gauge a hunt's success not only by ducks bagged but by dogs petted, great food consumed and memorable sunrises shared.
A DNR helicopter has been used this summer to spray herbicide to kill hybrid cattails in shallow lakes and marshes favored by ducks. The invasive plan

Anderson: DNR conducting an air war against duck hunting threats

A cross of native broad-leaf cattails and invasive narrow-leaf cattails, hybrid cattails can aggressively outcompete other aquatic plants. In some instances, so little open water remains ducks can't find places to land.
Bob White’s “Last Day” waterfowl hunting painting. White’s works include oil, watercolors and pencil drawings.

Anderson: Sporting art leads to book of a lifetime

Trading in sporting art, Bob White has spent the pandemic months preparing for publication of what he calls a "lifetime'' book of his work.
Considerably less abundant in Minnesota than ruffed grouse, spruce grouse are the subject this fall of a genetics study by the DNR in part to determin

Anderson: There are positives as grouse season opens, but issues, too

As opening day on Ol' Ruff nears, optimism is tempered by issues such as West Nile and increasing ATV use.
A rooster pheasant jumped into the air at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake.

Anderson: 2020 is for the birds ... pheasants, that is

Minnesota's pheasant population has leapt 42%. An omen, perhaps?
Piere Canser, left, and Alex Aavang were among past attendees of the “Modern Carnivore Experience” sponsored by Modern Carnivore, a Minnesota-base

Anderson: Modern Carnivore aims to get non-hunters to embrace hunting

Addressing topics ranging from gear selection to field-dressing, ethics and laws, the 12-month program (price: $180) is intended not only to educate and inform plugged-in novice hunters, but to get those people into the field.
Gary Lunz walked to his southern Minnesota goose hunting blind Saturday morning, the opening day of the state’s early honker season. It was his 74th

Anderson: Well-seasoned waterfowlers hit their marks

Four southern Minnesotans staged a familiar season-opening get-together for the early goose season.
Harley Davidson motorcycles on display at a dealership in Ashland, Va., in 2019

Anderson: Love for motorcycles never completely goes away

Motorcyclists not only acknowledge the danger of riding on two wheels, they embrace it. It's part of the sport's ethos and attraction.
Chris Niskanen with a rainbow trout caught in Alaska. Niskanen, previously the St. Paul Pioneer Press outdoors columnist, is leaving the DNR after abo

Anderson: Newspaper columnist turned DNR official is off to the next challenge

Chris Niskanen offers insight as someone who knows the agency both from outside and within.
A 12-point whitetail buck appears unfazed by an approaching photographer in 2018.

Anderson: Bigger bag limits, voluntary CWD testing new for 2020 deer season

This year, three new CWD surveillance areas and an additional CWD management zone (No. 605 in the south metro) have been established by the DNR.
Thirteen deer hunters gathered at this Tower, Minn., deer camp in 2012.

Anderson: How many? How long? Pandemic challenge for deer camps

Some hunters are asking whether gathering in camps this fall — a convention as old as the state itself — and possibly spreading the coronavirus among friends and family, is a good idea.
Still gathered together, whitetail bucks, now at the beginning of August, are already in preparation for the coming fall and, later still, winter. Hun

Anderson: Call to the outdoors these days is more like a siren

Hunting, as an educational and gratifying fall escape, gains importance in these uncertain times
Bob Nasby casted a 16-foot fly rod built in Scotland in the 1880s. Nasby orders such rods from Scotland, then reconditions them.

Anderson: Nasby's pandemic hobby is casting for new interests

Bob Nasby, a Twin Cities fisherman and fly-casting instructor, has a new obsession: the collection, restoration and casting of centuries-old salmon rods, or what also are called spey rods.
Wildlife photographer Bill Marchel checks an apple tree planted on his property. Marchel has planted some 5,000 trees of various types in the past 25

Anderson: Marchel sets good example for some of wildlife's finest critters

Bill Marchel created a habitat on his 70 acres of land to attract deer and other wildlife
Dave Nomsen recently ended a long career with Pheasants Forever. “Conservation is a fact-based, science-based story,” he said of communicating wel

Anderson: Longtime Pheasants Forever officer says relationships key to getting results

Dave Nomsen discussed Washington's political climate and the challenges of advocating for conservation policy on a national scale.
This newly seeded Goodhue County public water buffer utilized variable widths to allow for easier farming. Farmers have been buying in to buffering af

Anderson: Grass buffers have proven their worth in Minn. farm country

Passed by the Legislature at the urging of then-Gov. Mark Dayton, the state's buffer law was intended to reduce farmland runoff, thereby helping to clean up rivers and other waters.
Trapshooters had clear weather Tuesday during league night at Park Sportsmens Club in Orono. The club, first organized in 1939, is a slice of American

Anderson: Sportsmens club as Minnesotan as baseball and fishing in summertime

The coronavirus has thrown a wrench into just about everything this summer. Yet people come to the club for competitions and socializing, even in the time of a pandemic.
Tom Cherveny, left, counts among his responsibilities at the West Central Tribune, published in Willmar, covering the newspaper's outdoors beat. With

Anderson: Nature's storytellers are a threatened species as well

Documentarians of the outdoors world are losing some of their voices in an ever-changing media industry.
Steve Gillaspie sat in the Veteran’s Mess Hall, the restaurant he plans to open in Arlington, Minn., which will help raise funds for the fishing gro

Anderson: Ex-Army Ranger making sure other vetarans can go fishing

Steve Gillaspie is the founder of a 501(c)(3) group called Veterans on the Water, which offers free fishing trips to military veterans.
Lots of factors have combined to reduce the number of pheasant hunters in South Dakota. Advertising campaigns alone won’t tun that around nor will e

Anderson: Ending South Dakota pheasant survey won't fool hunters

If the South Dakota commission hopes to trick pheasant hunters into visiting by ending the state's brood surveys, that ploy won't work. Hunters aren't stupid.
Patrick Kirschbaum of Rogers drew down on a dogfish while bowfishing on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River on Wednesday night. Carl Sassen of Lino Lakes

Anderson: River wranglers ply the Mississippi River after dark

Whether bracketed by statuesque pines near Brainerd, the bright lights of the Twin Cities or Wabasha's leafy hardwoods, the Mississippi's one constant is beauty, and never more so than at night.
Thurman Tucker helped a young protégé at the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club, teaching him firearms safety and how to shoot at clay targets.

Anderson: Minorities lend their voices to outdoors activism

Minnesota's overwhelmingly white (84%) population is fast becoming more diverse, with significant implications for outdoor recreation and especially for conservation.
Anderson: Prolonged border closing deals crushing blow to businesses, summer rituals

Anderson: Prolonged border closing deals crushing blow to businesses, summer rituals

With the largest concentration of hunting and fishing camps in Canada, the region of Ontario just north of Minnesota is especially hard hit by the closed border. And Minnesotans who take those trips feel targeted, too.
At sunrise or sunset, Lake of the Woods is a magnet for anglers during all seasons of the year.

Anderson: Pandemic response foreshadows challenge to survive climate crisis

Relying on human behavior to change won't meet the crisis at hand.
Wildlife photographer Bill Marchel wade fishes for largemouth bass in the Brainerd area.

Anderson: Wade fishing for bass a reprieve from society's turmoil

Rarely undertaken in Minnesota anymore, except on some Twin Cities lakes, and of course by stream-trout fishermen, wade fishing is as old as the hills.
Nancy and Richard Becker of Princeton, Minn., have camped in tents, a motor home, “hotels’’ and now this teardrop trailer, which fulfills their

Anderson: Campers trending toward minimalist find sleeping options that fit the bill

Shift to minimalism calls for sleeping quarters such as teardrop trailers and rooftop tents, which travel well and deliver on comfort.
Vacationing and camping in the time of coronavirus: Consideration of other people, their health and surroundings, should be a priority. Wash your hand

Anderson: Vacationers need to be considerate of others; bring a mask

And wear it, especially indoors. It's the right thing to do.
Minnesota DNR Parks and Trails Division director Erika Rivers stands at a remote camp site at Afton State Park.. Some state parks will open to campers

Anderson: State parks slowly get ready to reopen to campers

Except at a relative handful of remote state park sites where camping is allowed, no one has pitched a tent or parked an RV in a Minnesota state park since March 27. That's about to change.
Tony Roach dipped a few lines of his own when he wasn’t allowed to work as a guide. He can return to his livelihood Monday, when COVID-19 restrictio

Anderson: Veteran guide Roach ready to safely go back to work on Mille Lacs

Like other Minnesota fishing guides, Tony Roach's business had been sidelined by a directive issued by Gov. Tim Walz. The governor's order has since been changed.

The Tony Roach file

Tony Roach file • Roach, 41, lives in Moose Lake, Minn., with his wife, Sonja, and their son and daughter. • The owner of Roach’s…

Anderson: Environment loses again if GOP has way with lottery money

Almost from the time it was created, legislators have dipped into the state lottery's environmental trust fund. reducing the amount of lottery proceeds dedicated to conservation.
Upper Red Lake, about an hour north of Bemidji, was about as crowded this opening day as it was a year ago. The hottest walleye lake in the Minnesota

Anderson: Anglers venture away from home to seek walleyes on fishing opener

Despite pleas to stay close to home, the popular Upper Red Lake spot drew big numbers from Twin Cities-area anglers for the annual opener. After all, Minnesota is a walleye state, and most walleye are Up North.
Pickups, boats and trailers lined up, preparing to launch, Saturday morning at West Wind Resort on Upper Red Lake. The resort limited access to its la

Five ways the fishing opener - on the way to and on Upper Red Lake - was different

Here's a look at five ways this year's opener en route to and on Upper Red Lake was different:
Tony Seykora

Anderson: These old men can't fish this weekend, but still have great tales to tell

Not everyone who wants to will be fishing when walleye season opens Saturday. Sitting this one out will be thousands of elderly Minnesotans who are confined to nursing homes by the pandemic, with no one allowed in and no one allowed out.
Lead jigs and other tackle made of the material are used each year by hundreds of thousands of Minnesota anglers, and a significant amount of that tac

Anderson: Pandemic holds up DNR's push to get lead out of tackle boxes

The DNR was advocating for tackle that won't poison swans and loons.
Anderson: Safe fishing is doable, says infectious disease expert Osterholm

Anderson: Safe fishing is doable, says infectious disease expert Osterholm

A renowned epidemiologist and a passionate fisherman, Michael T. Osterholm suggests ways anglers can protect themselves while on lakes and rivers.
Dennis Anderson and John Weyrauch hunted turkeys alone, together, in separate blinds last week. Anderson’s plan was to call in a big tom for his fri

Anderson: Alone and together can be done in turkey hunting

Dennis Anderson and John Weyrauch hunted turkeys alone, together, in separate blinds last week. Anderson's plan was to call in a big tom for his friend. That morning, the turkeys won. But not so the next morning.
Social distancing can work on fishing’s opening day in Minnesota, provided anglers are thoughtful while launching boats and while on the water.

Anderson: Minnesotans, you're blessed with an outdoors season; don't mess up

As hunting and fishing start up during a pandemic, it's more important than ever to follow the rules.
Owners of Paradise Resort near Pennington, Minn.: We can offer a safe environment to our guests.

Anderson: Northern Minnesota resort owners make it clear: come up and fish

In the past month, some public officials in northern Minnesota have said visitors aren't welcome, worried metro vacationers might tote the coronavirus with them. But resorts need customers. Or some won't survive.
Minnesota will turn to habitat-making expertise as it tries to bump up the population of ruffed grouse in the state — and more birds, in turn, would

Anderson: Ruffed grouse targeted in habitat plan

The primary conservation group that advocates for ruffed grouse has made dramatic changes to the way it operates, with a goal of significantly increasing ruffed grouse and woodcock habitat nationwide.
Retired Vikings head coach Bud Grant, photographed in his basement in December 2017

Anderson: Lying low during pandemic, Bud Grant sees history repeating itself

Stricken with polio at age 10, former Vikings head coach Bud Grant today sees similar "highly stressful times" with the unknowns surrounding COVID-19.
April, in past years, would mark (clockwise from top left) scores of turkey hunters afield in camouflage; spot checks of houses that harbor wood ducks

Anderson: Early spring activity marks renewal for outdoors, now on hiatus

April is known for an annual awakening of nature, a beckon to head outdoors. But not this year.
Jake Wallner, left, of St. Paul and his buddy Adam Bergstrom of Farmington set off Tuesday on the Misssissippi River in Bergstrom’s new boat, launch

Anderson: On this stretch of the Mississippi, it's fishing as usual -- for now

On the banks of the Mississippi near Red Wing, where walleye fishing is allowed year-round, anglers decide for themselves when fishing season begins.
Even on rainy, misty days, paddling in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, provides an excellent summer getaway for Minnesota anglers and canoeists. If

Anderson: Shuttering of Canada-U.S. border has outdoors implications

Businesses and customers in both nations brace for a closed border.

Anderson: Reality is a real dose these days, but so is the fishing

A rod, a country river, and time to anchor while waters are troubled.
Boundary Waters Journal editor and publisher Stu Osthoff embraces his work as a BWCA guide, leading anglers to hot spots for walleyes and trophy small

Anderson: Boundary Waters magazine publisher makes time for his own adventures

Stu Osthoff, publisher of Boundary Waters Journal, gets the itch to live out the adventures and lifestyle chronicled in his magazine.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

Anderson: Minnesota's path isn't so clear after wolves become delisted

Don't expect a Minnesota wolf hunting or trapping season this fall, in part because the DNR will spend the next year updating its wolf management plan.
Dominic Schneider jigged last week on an east metro lake, looking for bluegills. The DNR hopes to implement a plan to increase the average size of blu

Anderson: DNR launching efforts to beef up size of sunfish and bluegills

Minnesota DNR in the past decade has cut sunfish limits from 20, to 10 or five in about 60 lakes. Results: fish maintained their size in lakes with 10 limits and generally increased size in lakes with five-fish limits.
Tim Murphy, center, with his brother Jim, right, and cousin John Murphy.

Anderson: It was a life of words – and fields – for prairie poet from Fargo

Timothy Murphy did a lot of things while cultivating a following as an esteemed poet.
Hunting for voles last week at Winterberry Bog in the Sax-Zim Bog about an hour north of Duluth was this barred owl. A valued sighting by birders, bar

Anderson: Bird watchers come from far away for glimpses at Sax-Zim site

As word spread about unique sightings, northern swampland became a go-to for fowl enthusiasts
Marissa Jensen, a Pheasants Forever outreach coordinator, came to hunting late in her young life, but the experience was transformative.

Anderson: Pheasant Fest gathering was further proof of women's traction in hunting

The vibe was upbeat, even excited, as the women gathered to celebrate their common passion for dogs, birds and wild places.
These dogs and their owners are matches made in ... you tell us

These dogs and their owners are matches made in ... you tell us

Think you know dogs? Read the biographical sketches that accompany each photo here and see if you can match each human with his or her best friend.
Said Wade Truong: "Ethical hunting is the ultimate way to understand where your food comes from."

Anderson: Understanding your food: Chef's inspiration is in the hunt

Wade Truong, who'll appear at the Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, is a chef and hunter – and those overlapping worlds inspire him.
The first sunrise of 2020 brought deep orange and pink colors over the Duluth Harbor North and South Breakwater Lighthouses in Duluth

Anderson: Duluth a prime tourism spot; does copper-nickel mining pose threat?

Last week, Duluth reported $12.4 million collected in tourism tax revenue, an all-time high. But industry, not tourism, has always been, and remains, among the city's primary economic drivers
Hitting the road is great, and maybe more popular than ever, but there are some practical calculations to make before diving in.

Anderson: RV campers are great and all but, as with everything, there are trade-offs

Owning an RV can be a lot like owning a second home.
Restoring drained wetlands and plowed grasslands has been a priority for the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

Anderson: Example of good government is found in outdoors council

Keen to its mission, Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council delivers its vital project requests.
University of Minnesota student Katherine Glodoski is getting early research experience at age 22.

Anderson: Seven young conservationists to watch

Treasured lands find themselves in the best of hands.
Todd Stauffer (right), owner of Set The Hook Guide Service and Fish House Rental, took time to visit with tenants Frank Trcka, left, of Washington, Io

Anderson: Lake Minnetonka ice fishing village a hot destination for Iowa regulars

An Iowa family now regulars at a well-outfitted Lake Minnetonka ice house cluster, bunked in a sleeper fish house for three nights — hooking, reeling and smiling, 24/7.
Microphone on boom stand ready for the meeting ,blurred background group of people sitting around table. Microphone on stage in conference hall.

Anderson: DNR event misses chance to take up critical issues of the day

Having hoped the roundtable this year, finally, would offer weightier matters for discussion, many in attendance will shrug, albeit politely.
Until 2018, when he cut back his on-air roles, Ron Schara was the longtime host of the Minnesota Bound outdoors TV show, as well as other broadcasts.

Anderson: Hunting and fishing TV shows are still changing

As many Minnesotans settle in for a long winter of more "watching" than "doing," they'll see changes among hunting and fishing shows.
Joe Strang, of Cascade, Iowa, let guests pet his Labrador retriever Sully as he walked in the Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic dog parade in 2017 at th

Anderson: Pheasants Forever works to keep the base fired up

The annual festival comes to the Twin Cities again this year. While it will arrive amid tough news for birds and habitat, the group stays on point.
Dr. Larissa Minicucci, a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, founded a program that brings veterinary students to

Anderson: U researcher leaves legacy with animals, tribes and beyond

After Larissa Minicucci died, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake and White Earth leaders wanted to recognize her contributions to them, and their love for her.
In talk and appearance, then-candidate Tim Walz made out to be a fighter for Minnesota's natural resources, writes columnist Dennis Anderson, but that

Anderson: Thus far Walz has been a laggard on conservation

Many land, water and wildlife advocates don't think the state's chief executive has delivered.

Slushy conditions hampering ice fishing in northern Minnesota

Reports issued Tuesday by DNR conservation officers underscore the challenging and sometimes dangerous conditions anglers face accessing lake ice.
Coyotes have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to any surrounding: rural or city.

Anderson: Wily indeed, the coyote shows it will outlast history to erase it

The coyote reminds that its survival instincts are unmatched.
With his wife, Jan, paddling in the bow, Dennis Anderson sought walleyes and smallmouth bass in Ensign Lake in the BWCA on Thursday. The day was heavi

Anderson: Angling is the cure for what ails you

Even when it's hard, fishing is easy to take.
A photo that circulated on Facebook showed Brett Stimac posing with the bear federal authorities say was illegally killed.

Anderson: Repulsive killing of bear wasn't hunting by a long shot

Sadly, the penalties historically haven't fit poaching crimes like those of which a Brainerd man is accused.
Nicollet Conservation Club members, from left, Froehlich, Otto and Zins and dogs Kirby and Blackie put four pheasants in their bag on Wednesday while

Anderson: Nicollet Conservation Club stands out for nearly 80 years

Since 1942, Nicollet Conservation Club has made a difference.
Bob Kolling is one of a number of speciality gunsmiths at Ahlman's Gun Shop in Morristown, Minn.

Anderson: Gunsmithing is ancient trade steeped in modern demands

Larry Ahlman was 21 when his dad, "Cap" Ahlman, died in 1964, leaving his son a small southern Minnesota gunsmithing business saddled with $20,000 in unpaid bills.
Ringneck pheasant hunting season runs until Jan. 1, but snow could cause problems.

Snow could hamper pheasant hunting even though crops harvested

With up to a foot of snow predicted for Wednesday across much of the state's pheasant range, the weather might put the brakes on a ringneck season that otherwise would be shifting into high gear.
Thick flocks of ducks and other waterfowl, such as this group above Rice Lake on Oct. 1, are rare in Minnesota today. Waterfowl hunters bemoan the sma

Minnesota hunters weigh in on a lost abundance of ducks

A sample of e-mails received following Dennis Anderson's column on questioning waterfowl managers' spring population surveys.
High key image of a roughed grouse

Anderson: New virus surfaces in several grouse, and that is a worry

Cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis surface amid wonder about West Nile impact.
A birds-eye view of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Anderson: Study on stadium bird deaths waste of unnatural resources

When considered on a population level, a similar number of these birds would have died anyway, by some other means.
Pierce Pennaz of the Twin Cities, who has down syndrome, hunted successfully on opening day, thanks to recent legislation in Minnesota that makes lice

Anderson: Impact of law change plays out for disabled hunter on opener

Pierce Pennaz, who has Down syndrome, bagged a buck on a shared hunt with his father.

When only a doe will do, the bucks crowd the territory

Bucks came and went, but they weren't the goal this opening morning.