Off the grid.
That’s where we take you in Northland Outdoors’ fall magazine, which came out in the last week.
In the case of the story that goes with the cover photo, off the grid is far northern Minnesota. But, as you’ll see in the magazine, you don’t need to live off the grid to enjoy off-grid experiences.
That’s evident throughout the publication, from hunting sharpies on the edge of oil country to exploring the fall colors deep — and not so deep — in the backcountry to a memorable archery deer-hunting experience in the far reaches of the North Dakota Badlands.
Firearms deer hunting is a late fall/early winter endeavor and will be chronicled in the winter magazine (subscribe for free at http://www.northlandoutdoors.com/subscribe/), due out in early November — before the highly-anticipated firearms deer hunting seasons across the Northland.
But archery deer hunts are offered across the Northland even before we officially hit fall — the season opens in North Dakota on Sept. 2, in Minnesota and Wisconsin on Sept. 17 and in South Dakota on Sept. 24.
“It was a clear, crisp morning in fall 2012,” Northland Outdoors’ Bret Amundson recalled in that North Dakota Badlands archery deer hunting piece in the fall magazine. “I was overlooking the Little Missouri River in the only tree tall enough to allow for a stand. The area around Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park is, and will always remain, one of my favorite places on the planet, rich with beautiful scenery and teeming with wildlife.”
So it’s no surprise that Amundson and other deer hunters — both bow and rifle — already are counting down the days to the 2016 seasons. And, thanks to a program being offered through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, adults who have little or no deer hunting experience could be included in the mix for the upcoming firearms season in the state.
Similar programs are helping to recruit youths to deer hunting and the outdoors in Minnesota and across the Northland, but interestingly, not nearly as many of these programs target adults.
“We place a high value in training adults to hunt because adults can continue to hunt after these sessions, whereas youth usually rely on a parent or other adult,” Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the DNR, said in a release announcing the adults’ program. “Adults also can pass on what they learn to their own families or friends.”
According to the DNR in that release, “Even though putting locally sourced meat in the freezer is one goal of many who begin deer hunting as adults, stories abound of new hunters finding friends, creating family traditions and gaining profound experiences of connection with the outdoors.”
Adults who are new to hunting and want to learn to hunt deer can apply by Monday, Aug. 15 for the all-inclusive, multi-session program, which is open to individuals 18 years or older who have never hunted or have hunted only once.
Those interested should contact Kurre at email@example.com for an application. Registration will be limited to 10 entrants, and according to Kurre, more than 10 have already applied, meaning a lottery will determine the list of participants.
Once selected, participants will be required to complete online firearms safety training and to attend two class or range-day training sessions — on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 8 — along with a scouting day with their mentor to select their hunting site. Loaner firearms will be available for students who do not own deer rifles.
For more information about DNR programs for new hunters, see www.mndnr.gov/harr/index.html.
For more on all things fall in the Northland, see the fall magazine — a digital version will be available soon, also at http://www.northlandoutdoors.com/subscribe/.
“You can never have a bad day in the Badlands of North Dakota,” Amundson said in that archery piece in the fall magazine. “But, conversely, you can have really good days there. I was about to find out which direction this one would go.”
Northland Outdoors readers will know.