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

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

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

Some guy named Trout caught a big northern in Minnesota

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: Wolves need managing in Minnesota, period.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: New teal season might push ducks away

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

Anderson: Legislature could have done more to staunch CWD threat

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

Anderson: Fatherhood is at its best in the physical world

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

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

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

Anderson: DNR leader Strommen turns to the people for help

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

Anderson: Smaller-scale conservation groups doggedly pursue stewardship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: Lakes stocked, anglers stoked for fishing opener

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: Schara on turkeys, and spilling blood and ink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: As sales surge, bearing arms means bearing responsibility

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

Anderson: A Pandemic turkey hunt, the sequel

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

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

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

Anderson: Aggressive logging in Minn. bluff country threatens wildlife

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

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

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

Anderson: Like spring, Mississippi River rush arrives early

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: Drones helping modernize deer counts through locating fawns

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

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

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

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

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

Anderson: Training dogs and long walks are gifts these days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota wildlife managers want to minimize nuisance-bear complaints while satisfying hunters' desires, while also, most important, maintaining a healthy, stable bruin population.
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.
A lifelong duck hunter, Bud Grant at 93 years of age continues his autumn passion, here in western North Dakota on that state’s opening day for non-

'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.