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

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…

When you control the dinner menu
posted on Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017
They say that indentured servants during the early days of New England used to complain that they were only given fresh lobster to eat. During summer, some Minnesotans can feel their historic pain. Just the other night, I said to myself, “What, fresh walleye again?” Fortuitous fishing has uncomplicated my dinner menu. If there are filets in the fridge, I eat them. The rest of the menu is pretty much a given, too. Just before dinner I head out to the garden and gather a bowl of fresh greens and…

A Gift of the Past: Donation of artifacts spans 9,000 years
posted on Monday, Jul 24, 2017
Rick Anderson is seated between his late mother and father, Lou and Dick Anderson. He and his mother searched for artifacts near the family’s lake cabin in Cook County. | RICK ANDERSON In a climate-controlled basement vault beneath the Grand Portage National Monument visitor center lies 10,000 years of human history. Cataloged and filed in sterile metal drawers is an amazing collection of artifacts, beginning with the first humans to explore the area after the glaciers receded and continuing forward through the fur trade era. There are stone points and…

Mike Durkalec catches trophy brook trout
posted on Monday, Jul 24, 2017
Mike Durkalec, a fisheries biologist and avid trout/steelhead angler from Ohio, makes annual trips to the Nipigon area in Ontario to fish for trophy brook trout. He caught this fish at Lake Nipigon on July 13. In an email he wrote, “I did not weigh or measure this brook trout, but as a fish biologist I’d say 27-28 inches and easily 10-pound class (fish was quickly released after photo). It hit a smelt streamer right next to the boat like a musky!” He advises fly anglers who are seeking giant…

Summer is Berry Time
posted on Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017
Berry picking is one of summer’s sweet rewards. Blueberries are the best known wild crop, but a bounty of berries are available. The picking begins in June, when the wild strawberries appear, and continues through the first frosts of October, which sweeten the high bush cranberries. For many folks along the North Shore, the discovery of a ripe wild strawberry marks the first day of summer. Their exquisite flavor makes them a favorite of berry lovers and is made only sweeter by their diminutive size and relative scarcity. It takes…

Picking the North Shore’s Best Mushroom
posted on Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017
Chanterelles are a powerful distraction. In July, I spend hours walking through the woods and staring at the ground, oblivious to mosquitoes and horseflies, in search of the butter-yellow mushrooms. And I find what I seek. Nearly every night we have butter-sautéed chanterelles for supper. And yes, they are that good. Along the North Shore, chanterelles appear in July and provide good pickings for a few weeks. In a wet year, you may find edible chanterelles into September, although it is more common for picking to end during August.  Chanterelles…

Organization's new blood offers hope for the future of the outdoors
posted on Friday, Jun 30, 2017
Outdoor communicators from across the nation met in Duluth last weekend for the 90th annual conference of the Outdoor Writers of America Association (OWAA). That such an organization can survive nearly a century is no small achievement and a testament to the professional camaraderie of the eclectic  band of people who are devoted to telling the outdoor story. That I attended my first conference in Kalispell, Montana, 30 years ago is a testament to something else. The organization was much larger back then; with a membership primarily comprised of what…

A Quiet Celebration of Summer
posted on Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017
When we reach July, summer is already beginning to slip away, even though it has just begun. We’ve passed the Summer Solstice, marking the longest day in the year. For those of us who pay attention to such things, it’s all downhill to winter from here. Fortunately, it’s a slow ride. Deliciously long evenings linger through July. I try to make the most of them, fly-rod in hand. Right around sunset, large Hexagenia mayflies emerge from the bottom of lakes and ponds where they’ve spent their nymphal lives, swim to…

Do our black flies and mosquitoes scare cowboys?
posted on Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
Is it possible that westerners are wimps? You know, those rough and tumble types who wade roaring rivers to fly-fish for trout and run all over the mountains chasing elk? I’m beginning to wonder if they are as tough as they appear. Why? Because they fear black flies. In the past year, I’ve had conversations with several western outdoor types who are curious about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). All would like to explore this water wonderland and sample its renowned fishing. And all have one little reason…

Readers weigh in on the North’s turkey invasion
posted on Friday, Jun 16, 2017
A recent column about the continuing northward expansion of Minnesota’s wild turkeys prompted a few emails from folks who wanted to share their thoughts on the topic. As may be expected, some folks are fine with seeing wild turkeys arrive in northern Minnesota while others are concerned how this large invasive species may disrupt the ecosystem. Some folks welcome their arrival. “I have land southwest of Cloquet and the turkeys are all over the place. I bag one there every year, great fun. The grouse/woodcock hunting has been great too,”…

Thunder Bay Turns to the Lake
posted on Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017
The Lakehead has been a cultural melting pot since the Fur Trade era over 200 years ago. | THUNDER BAY TOURISM An ambitious waterfront development project is transforming once-industrial Thunder Bay into the cultural center of northwestern Ontario. The project has become a catalyst for downtown revitalization. The opening of several acclaimed new restaurants within walking distance of the water has led to an unplanned creation of a culinary district. A growing art and music scene, adventurous outdoor recreation opportunities and new capital investments in the economy are turning the…

Blaze pink: The Legislature’s big score for hunters
posted on Friday, Jun 09, 2017
Confound the Minnesota Legislature! Among its list of accomplishments in the recently ended session, mostly pushed through the State House sausage grinder under the cover of darkness, was the approval of “blaze pink” as a legal alternative to blaze orange for hunting clothing. So, as all camo-conscious sportsmen and women obviously know, blaze pink will be THE color to be wearing when you head afield next September. Better start upgrading your wardrobe now. This is big. Haute hunting apparel has largely been defined ever-changing camo patterns. One year everyone is…

Of dogs, wolf droppings and conservation
posted on Friday, Jun 02, 2017
We have a morning routine. Before leaving for work, I give the dogs a treat and then take them out for a short walk to do their business. We walk down the gravel road to the bridge, about 250 yards from my house, then come back. The dogs take a big drink from the county ditch, thoroughly water the foliage and do what dogs do. In the canine world, where complicated communications we humans don’t understand are written in a language of scents and markings, this is my dogs’ home…