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
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.
Exposing kids of all races and backgrounds to the outdoors will help ensure future diverse supporters of nature. The DNR is launching a new effort to

Anderson: Equity in the outdoors means there's room for everybody

The DNR is making a new push to make the outdoors more inclusive.
Ron, left, and Al Lindner built an enduring fishing empire.

Anderson: Inseparable Lindner brothers built a fishing empire like no other

The Brainerd-area duo formed a pair of distinction, from tackle to media to a shared faith.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking duck hunters to weigh in on a series of proposed regulation changes. The goal is to make hunti

Anderson: DNR's proposed duck rule changes run afoul of reality

Recent waterfowling regulation changes the DNR is offering for hunter consideration seem less an effort to ensure the future of waterfowling in Minnesota than an attempt to shoot our way to more ducks.
Pheasant hunter and former head of the Minnesota DNR Tom Landwehr points out that “multiple forces guide the DNR commissioner.”

Anderson: Time is right to rethink stewardship, embrace again the land

As our world changes, we must restore relationships with land.
Last winter Mille Lacs registered more than 3 million angler hours of pressure, a record, according to Department of Natural Resources estimates.

Anderson: Winter angling places pressure on productive walleye lakes

Last winter, Mille Lacs registered more than 3 million angler hours of pressure, a record, according to DNR estimates.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen

Anderson: Q&A with DNR Commissioner Strommen

Sarah Strommen discusses the effect of the pandemic on her agency's operations, the DNR's method of advocating for conservation of wetlands and roadsides, and state management of wolves, among other topics.
From left: Loral I Delaney, Doug Sutherland, Pud Hilgenberg, Sherry Delaney, Godfrey Zaunbrecher, Roy Winston Jr., Roy Winston, Nate Wright, David Hil

Anderson: Pheasants, not football, once drew Vikings together in Iowa

Legendary coach Bud Grant and his players recall special days away from football and hunting pheasants together.
Loral I Delaney approached an unseen pheasant that her German shorthair, Reagan, and English setter, Clooney, have scented and pointed during a recent

Anderson: A day afield with sharpshooting Delaney a brush with greatness

Loral I Delaney remains colorful and has a remarkable history as a dog trainer and expert shot.
Taylor Menke, 12, of Big Lake has occupied a stand with her father since she was 10 and this year carried a gun and dropped a deer for the first time;

Anderson: As times change, hunting cohort needs women

A review of current Minnesota deer license sales underscores that girls show a strong interest in hunting relative to boys. But many men return to hunting as they grow older, while many women seemingly don't.
Luke Konson, left, and Daniel Balserak held an example of the Iowa state fish, the channel catfish

Anderson: Pair out to catch all 50 state fish make quick work of channel catfish

After success in Iowa, Luke Konson and Daniel Balserak made quick work of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Using raw chicken for bait, they landed channel cats in each state
Saturday brought together four generations of hunters in northwestern Wisconsin. Norb Berg, right, of St. Paul, age 88, with, from left, great-grandso

Anderson: Generations hunt together, relate to land

Four generations of hunters shared a sense of place Saturday morning for the Wisconsin firearms opener, and Norb Berg, 88, has passed his down.
Luke Konson, above, and Daniel Balserak pulled their walleyes from the Minnesota River near Belle Plaine.

Anderson: Anglers seeking all 50 state fish need help in Iowa

Channel catfish in Iowa are so far eluding a pair of Virginia teens on a special quest.
Luke Konson, left, 18, and Daniel Balserak, 19, passed on going to college this fall when they learned all of their classes would be held online. Inst

Anderson: It's a Minnesota stop for pair angling to land 50 state fish

Two Virginians are on a quest to catch the state fish in all 50 states; they might need a hand with our walleyes.
The quarry from a prior year’s Pidde family hunt. Hunting was tough this year, but Pidde and his group did help a lost hunter who might have suffere

Anderson: Deer camp's solitude broken by a lost voice

On a northern Minnesota plot long on tradition, a group of hunters helped a man gone astray.
On the eve of the firearms deer opener, Terry Arnesen, left, and John Weyrauch cooked venison backstrap over an open fire from a whitetail taken last

Anderson: Warmth blankets the firearms deer season opener

One hunting party stays close to home, with an eye out especially for the metro's abundant does
Travis Pennings and his uncle Dan Pennings stopped to look over a deer Travis shot in 2018.

Anderson: Safety should be top priority when deer hunting

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials are urging first-timers, as well as veteran hunters, to hunt safely and legally. Here are a few reminders might aid that effort
More deer hunters might have to process their own whitetails this fall, because of a shortage of butchers. The DNR is advising hunters to make a proce

Anderson: Shortage of deer processors looms over whitetail season

The pandemic has helped cause a giant backup among processors; people are setting up smaller shops to help out.
Gray wolves, one of the first animals shielded by the Endangered Species Act after Americans all but exterminated them in the lower 48 states, will no

Anderson: Gray wolf delisting glosses over need to protect other species

The Trump administration isn't the only one playing politics on the Endangered Species Act issue.
Dave Mech in 1960 displayed 19 of the many moose jawbones he collected around Isle Royale to help determine age and health of the animals at the time

Anderson: Wolf researcher's new book explores predators, prey on Isle Royale

Dave Mech offers answers to the unique relationship between wolves and moose.
Bud Grant and Lilly, a black Labrador retriever, scanned the North Dakota skies, watching as ducks approached a barley field where Grant, his partner

'Just to be here is enjoyable': On the hunt with Bud Grant

The legendary coach has been retired from football for more than three decades. He's lived longer than he thought he would, and all but a handful of his close friends are dead. But hunting is still a passion.
Sid Hartman and Bud Grant (shown in 2014) met when Grant arrived at the University of Minnesota from Superior, Wis., in 1946. Despite having little in

'I loved Sid.' Grant and Hartman were the unlikeliest of best friends

Sid Hartman was the first person Bud Grant met in 1946 when his grandparents dropped him off at the University of Minnesota as a highly touted recruit who would star in three sports for the Gophers.
Lee Clancy,, foreground, son-in-law of the late outdoors writer Gary Clancy, is flanked Saturday morning, from left, by Bob Boughten, Gary Clancy’s

Anderson: A picturesque pheasant opener was Gary Clancy's kind of day

Saturday morning hunting pheasants was for celebrating Gary Clancy's life and also to celebrate the state wildlife management area that was recently christened in Gary's name.
In this undated file photo, a pheasant walks through the snow

Anderson: Pheasants' advocates, taxpayers have hand in rosy outlook

Conservations and taxpayers deserve thanks for what might be a resurgent season.
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.
Wildlife photographer and outdoors writer Bill Marchel of Fort Ripley, Minn., is silhouetted by the rising sun near Little Falls on Tuesday morning, o

Anderson: The dawn of mourning dove season arrives

The hunt for mourning birds is modest in Minnesota, but the opener proves a good day for being afield again.
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.