MONTEVIDEO -- Gov. Mark Dayton will break new ground by hosting the first Governor's Pheasant Opener, and will be doing so in Montevideo, his office announced on Thursday.
"This is going to be a good thing for the community and a great thing for the state,'' said Dennis Larson, Montevideo, who has been working to make the Governor's pheasant season opener in Montevideo a possibility.
In announcing the decision, Dayton said he has been a Minnesota pheasant hunter for more than half a century and is excited about holding the first annual Governor's Pheasant Opener in Montevideo. The governor will be in Montevideo Oct. 14 and 15 for the event.
The fields around Montevideo won't be new ground to the governor. He joined an annual, VIP pheasant hunt in Montevideo as a gubernatorial candidate in October 2010. He announced at the hunt that if elected, he would host a Governor's Pheasant Opener hunt and promised to make Montevideo the site of the first.
For nine years, Montevideo has been hosting an annual VIP hunt at which elected office holders are invited to join local hunters. It's an opportunity to showcase the hunting opportunities around the Montevideo area, as well as the hospitality and amenities available for visiting hunters, according to sponsors.
The nine-year track record of holding the VIP hunt gives Montevideo a leg up on arranging for the Governor's Pheasant Opener. Larson said there are a number of landowners in the area who are already willing to open their lands to the many hunters and news reporters expected to join the governor.
Thanks to the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Area, there are also many acres of public lands available for pheasant hunting as well.
Larson said the city of Montevideo and sports and conservation groups in the area are working together to prepare for the hunt and the visitors expected.
He's hopeful that the governor will have an opportunity to harvest a bird, but either way, Larson said he's confident it will be a great time. "It's just fun getting out there,'' he said.
Roughly 100,000 Minnesota hunters pursued pheasants last year, according to information from the governor's office. Upland bird hunting generates roughly $121 million in direct retail sales and supports more than 2,300 jobs, according to a 2006 federal report, the governor's announcement noted.