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Governor’s 2014 opener will be in Bemidji

BEMIDJI — Gov. Mark Dayton announced Friday that Bemidji has been chosen as the host community for the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener to kick-off the 2014 firearms deer season.

Dayton made the announcement at the 11th annual deer hunting opener celebration in Fergus Falls.

“During my three years hosting the Governor’s Deer Opener, we have enjoyed terrific events, thanks to the hard work of our hosts in Biwabik, Winona, and Fergus Falls,” Dayton said. “I thank everyone in Bemidji for their willingness to continue this great Minnesota tradition.”

The Bemidji area is a popular deer hunting and travel destination because of its vast forests, including the Chippewa National Forest and the Buena Vista and Blackduck state forests.

Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener events bring positive attention to an activity that is economically important to the state and socially important at the friend, family and community level, too.

Minnesota is home to nearly a half-million deer hunters whose direct retail spending totals more than a quarter-billion dollars and supports 3,760 jobs, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We’re excited about having the governor help showcase the Bemidji area,” said Dennelle Hilliard, executive director of the city’s visitor and convention bureau. “We have a great public land base and wonderful natural resources for people to enjoy.”

The Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Explore Minnesota Tourism will assist local partners in planning the event.