Shawn Perich

Shawn is a veteran writer and editor well-known for his many books and outdoor stories. A native of Duluth and longtime North Shore resident, he’s spent a lifetime roaming the Northern Wilds and is eager to share what he knows with readers.

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Recent Articles by Shawn Perich

Time with the knife, and memories
posted on Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
On a recent afternoon, I begged off from heading back into the deer woods after lunch. A buck was hanging from the gambrel in my garage. I wanted to get to it with a knife. Afternoon daylight and temps above freezing would make the task at hand much easier. Some folks like to hang their deer for a few days to age the meat. During November in my neck of the woods, we rarely have temps that are “just right” for aging meat. Either it is too warm or too…

Blaming deer hunters won’t restore Minnesota moose
posted on Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017
Somehow, I just knew it had to be my fault. Are you wondering what happened to the missing Minnesota moose? Wonder no more. Just blame me. After all, I’m a northeastern Minnesota deer hunter. In a story titled, “Solved: Deer have a direct role in the death of Minnesota moose” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on Nov. 7 (coincidentally, just four days after the opener of the annual northeastern Minnesota firearm deer season) that a brain worm parasite carried by deer and fatal to moose is the leading cause of death…

Hunting ends when baiting begins
posted on Friday, Nov 10, 2017
Somewhere in northern Minnesota, there is a pile of apples with a deer stand over yonder. Somewhere else, there is a pile of corn hidden beneath the bows of a balsam tree so the game wardens can’t see it from the air. Stealthier still, beneath a third deer stand, someone scattered black oiler sunflower seeds, which are even more difficult to detect. Spreading bait to attract deer to a hunting location may be against the law in Minnesota, but out in the woods and on the back forty, it persists.…

Walking on Snow
posted on Friday, Oct 27, 2017
In winter, the snow gets pretty deep around here. Sometimes it comes early. Other years it arrives late. Most winters, the snow just keeps getting deeper and deeper until spring arrives. I don’t think much about the snow depth until it reaches my knees, because I can trudge through lesser amounts. But once it gets to my knees, it’s time to wear snowshoes. Native people originated snowshoes to walk atop the snow. They are still used for that practical purpose today. The original style of snowshoe, with a wooden frame…

Out there, we're all the same
posted on Friday, Oct 27, 2017
When the autumn leaves drop and the forest is bare of foliage, deer appear in the backyard. They clean up fallen apples and whatever is left in the gardens as hors d'oeuvres, but what keeps them around are the lush green grass and clover in the yard. They show up just before dusk; does followed by fawns and yearling does. Not often does a buck appear. As anyone with whitetails in their neighborhood knows, backyard deer are not shy. They know your routines and will watch you go about your…

Nostalgia in the Grouse Woods
posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2017
Longtime grouse hunters have a list of places where they used to go hunting. Trees grow old. They fall down or are cut down. Over a span of a decade or more, a familiar forest can change so much that it becomes hard to recognize. Old logging roads and trails disappear and new ones are made. My list of former hunting spots is lengthy. Some of them have sprouted new homes. Often I can no longer find the trails I use to walk. In others, the forest has aged and…

An Upper Peninsula Adventure
posted on Friday, Oct 13, 2017
If Michigan's Upper Peninsula was a misshapen mitten, the Keweenaw Peninsula would be the thumb. This rocky appendage juts defiantly into Lake Superior, its hardwood, pine and hemlock clad ridges rising hundreds of feet above the crystalline blue. We had already been atop Brockway Mountain, where you can look beyond the ridges across the limitless lake that disappears into the horizon. We'd been to the lakeside monastery where the monks make and sell wild berry jam.  Now we were passing through Copper Harbor, the tiny community at the tip of…

Ruffed Grouse: Dinner on the Wing
posted on Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017
Around our house, we don’t eat a lot of chicken during September and October. Instead we have fresh ruffed grouse for dinner as often as we can. After all, why settle for chicken when you can have the best? The delicate flavor of ruffed grouse arguably surpasses any other fowl. The grouse hunting season begins in mid-September and remains open through the end of the year. However, nearly all hunting occurs before the snow flies. Aside from a shotgun, you don’t need special skills or gear to go after grouse,…

On the water, a season finale
posted on Friday, Oct 06, 2017
Lake Superior was rolling up on the cobblestone beach at the creek mouth, pushing the stream’s bog-stained outflow along the shore. I was wearing waders, but there would be no wading this morning. The waves were at least chest high as they hit the beach. I stood in the wash and made a few casts. It wasn’t long until I had a strike. I quickly played and nearly landed a small, silvery fish that shook free as I lifted it from the surf. I think it was a rainbow trout.…

As moose numbers dwindle, should anyone hunt them?
posted on Friday, Sep 29, 2017
It’s moose season in the north. On Facebook, some of my Canadian friends have been eagerly anticipating the season; talking about who drew a tag in the lottery and where they plan to hunt. Both topics are pertinent. Due to a crashing moose population, available hunting tags were greatly reduced in a vast portion of northwest Ontario extending northward from the Minnesota border. Hunters are moving around, trying to find moose as the animals disappear from their traditional hunting areas. Not surprisingly, Ontario hunters place the blame for the lack…

The lovely lighthouse in the center of town: Terrace Bay
posted on Monday, Sep 25, 2017
Terrace Bay—Lake Superior has two North Shores. One, best known to Minnesotans, is their own 150-mile stretch of shoreline between Duluth and the Canadian border. The other, call it the geographical North Shore, is best known to Ontarians and extends across the top of the lake. While both North Shores are wonderfully scenic, the Ontario portion has sweeping grandeur that must be seen to be appreciated. Hills high enough to be called mountains are buttressed by sheer palisades; all overlooking an azure Lake Superior bejeweled with islands, many capped with…

We need Congress to show leadership on wildfire issues
posted on Friday, Sep 22, 2017
The overcast sky was a nondescript gray. It didn’t feel like rain. The sun, suddenly peering through the clouds, was blood red. That meant at least some of the cloud cover was actually smoke from distant wildfires. This has been a summer of fire across the north and west, with massive burns occurring in Montana, British Columbia and Oregon, in addition to dozens of lesser blazes from California to Ontario. While the news has been dominated by hurricanes in Texas and Florida, an earthquake in Mexico and a typhoon in…

As goes rural America, so goes conservation
posted on Friday, Sep 15, 2017
A few weeks ago, some information crossed my desk asserting that an inordinate number of people in the Minnesota county where I live participate in the SNAP (food stamp) program. The number was so startlingly high that I decided to track down its validity. In the course of doing so, I learned the need for all county-provided human services is growing. While I never did get a number that I would be comfortable publishing about how many people in the county are assisted by SNAP, I did learn that about…

Media summit offers conservation insights
posted on Friday, Sep 08, 2017
Writers gathered in Minneapolis last week for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's annual western media summit, which this year covered the upcoming 2018 reauthorization of the federal Farm Bill. Minnesota was an excellent location for the summit, given the state's deep commitment to conservation and habitat restoration. Many conservation projects are accomplished either through or in tandem with Farm Bill programs. Evidence of that work can be found on the edge of the city. On the first day of the summit, the writers toured Pelican Lake, where multiple projects  to…

Hunters promote PETA, Zinke promotes himself
posted on Friday, Sep 01, 2017
Last week, Facebook was awash with pictures of grinning hunters posing with dead critters as they poked fun at People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. The organization had posted a Facebook “photo frame” that said Shoot Selfies Not Animals. Of course, thousands of Billy Bobs and Daisy Mays used the frame to post their successful hunt pictures. Let's give a tip of the hat to the savviness of PETA's social media marketing team. No, PETA isn’t secretly collecting information or photos from hunters in an effort to damage hunting. They…

And when we meet… Encounters with Wolves
posted on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017
I wake up every morning thinking about wolves. Before letting the dogs out on their leashes, I make a visual scan of the backyard. While I’ve never seen a wolf there, the wild canines live in our Hovland neighborhood and occasionally attack local dogs. It is prudent to be vigilant. One September evening a few years ago, I came home to find a large, male wolf standing in the road in front of my house. I drove toward the animal to shoo it away. The wolf leaped across the ditch…

Brook trout in walleye land
posted on Friday, Aug 25, 2017
We ran 11 miles from the launch without seeing anyone. Tall spruce rose like church spires over rocky islands. Rocky bluffs towered above the shorelines, crowned with red and white pines. Jack pines covered the hillsides like hair of a dog. Welcome to Nipigon country. Piloting the boat was veteran outdoor writer and angler extraordinaire Gord Ellis of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He and Ray Rivard, owner of Quebec Lodge in Red Rock, Ontario had invited me to join them on this fishing adventure. Actually, it was a busman’s holiday. We’re…

Would you let a politician smash your shotgun?
posted on Friday, Aug 18, 2017
Listening to the drumbeat from the moccasin telegraph, it seems some Minnesota deer hunters, especially in the north, are less than enthused with the DNR’s whitetail bag limits for the 2017 season. These hunters feel the agency is being too aggressive in ramping up the antlerless deer harvest, either through issuing antlerless tags or so-called hunter’s choice (any deer) rules. Many hunters think the herd is still recovering from previous harsh winters, hindered by a dearth of young forest habitat due to reduced logging and by a healthy (and hungry)…

Can a unified outdoor industry make a difference?
posted on Friday, Aug 04, 2017
A recent story in Outside magazine had strong words for the outdoor industry and its lack of commitment to addressing outdoor issues, such as threats to our public lands. “The whole outdoor industry is just run by a bunch of weenies. And they are not stepping up. They just suck the life out of outdoor resources and give nothing away.” The quote was from Yvon Chouinard, the 78-year-old founder of Patagonia, a company known in outdoor circles for its willingness to roll up its sleeves and fight the good fight…

It’s lonely at the top…of Lake Superior
posted on Friday, Jul 28, 2017
Here’s a little secret. There is a place where you can go on Lake Superior’s North Shore and have a lovely sand beach all to yourself. In fact, you can have your choice of beaches. “Sand?” you ask. “Where can you find a sand beach on the North Shore?” The short answer is, “Not in Minnesota.” Last week, three of us stood on a sand beach in Terrace Bay, Ontario, listening to Dean Main, the town’s community development supervisor, explain some of the town’s recreation projects. The public beach stretched…