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2013 Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener
Takes Place at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center

By Valerie R. Redmond
External Affairs and

Matt Conner
Fergus Falls Wetland Management District

The Minnesota Governor's 2013 Deer Opener took place at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC) on Nov. 8th and a "Welcome to Camp" kickoff for the event was hosted the day before, at the local Best Western.

The Nov. 7 welcome reception for this event included speeches from a number of dignitaries, including Fergus Falls Mayor Hal Leland, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr and representatives from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. The Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau extended a warm welcome to the community for this popular event. Explore Minnesota Director John Edman was also on hand and spoke about the economic impact of deer hunting. Safety was also a key.

Guests were invited to attend a tour at the Viking Valley Hunt Club and the Preserve the Tradition Museum, on Nov. 7th. Refuge Manager Larry Martin represented the Service at the event. Transportation for the public was provided to shooting activities at the Hunt Club.

A 4:30 a.m. early morning continental breakfast provided the jump start for many at Friday's events, followed by a 6 a.m. live radio broadcast at the PWLC. Governor Mark Dayton headlined the speakers.

There was a strong community outreach for the event, one component of which was youth engagement. Friday was Youth Field Day at the Fairgrounds and the PWLC. The day was full of youth activities, including, "Taking aim at Invasive Species" activity with archery, "Snap-Shot Hunting" (nature photography), "How to Keep a Hunting and Nature Journal" and "Predator and Prey Relationships." There were 175 Students from the PWLC's Prairie Science Class at the event. Public activities ran concurrently with youth events and included a number of field day activities and sponsor booths.

Outreach for the event paid off, with attendance topping 250 people. Matt Conner, Director of the PWLC, was very happy with the turnout."The main thing I want all youth to 'get' is, occasionally you see hunters who will just be a hunter, but never stop and look around," Conner said. "In other words. There are people that go hunting, but they never actually see nature. So we're trying to get them prepared for that. If you're going to be out there hunting, why not learn about nature photography, wildlife observation, and how to best record these experiences than in a nature journal?"

"Despite the inclement weather, it was really wonderful to see the community come out and support the event," said Mark Johnson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Deer Hunting Association. "It was a good testament to the community, the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, and definitely to how deer hunting is an integral part of Minnesota culture."

Sponsors of the event included: Trinity Outdoors, Outdoor Promotions, Border Broadcasting, Townsquare Media, KNSI, Outdoors Weekly, Wild Dakota, Business Voice, and others.

"I'd like to thank the FWS for their outstanding support of the Governor's Deer Hunting Opener through all the hard work of their staff and the lifelong skills they are ingraining in the next generation of stewards of the outdoors," said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Mentoring Program Coordinator Michael Kurre.


Youngsters enjoy Youth Field Day at the Fairgrounds and the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo by Jean Bowman)

Youngsters enjoy Youth Field Day at the Fairgrounds and the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo by Jean Bowman)



Last updated: December 5, 2013