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No bird for Dayton during Governor's Pheasant Opener

Hunter Landwehr, 13, son of Tom Landwehr, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, shows Gov. Mark Dayton one of the two rooster pheasants he harvested this morning. (Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny)

MONTEVIDEO - House Speaker Kurt Zellers bagged the rooster, but Governor Mark Dayton fired plenty of zingers as he inaugurated the first Governor's Pheasant Opener today near the Lac qui Parle refuge northwest of Montevideo.

"Today the speaker and I were in the same party,'' said the DFL governor as he, the Republican leader of the House and other party members returned from a morning hunt on public lands on the Lac qui Parle refuge.

The governor did not bag a bird, but had to hold his shot as his press secretary was between him and two roosters the party flushed, according to Dave Trauba, manager of the refuge for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who served as the party's guide. Zellers and Paul Johannis, of Willmar, harvested the two roosters for the party.

"The main thing we're just out having a good time,'' Dayton said as the participants -- split into 10 separate parties -- returned from the morning hunt for a noon lunch. The governor also went out for second try in the afternoon, but was not successful.

Organizers felt that Montevideo's role as Pheasant Capitol proved successful, as the hunters chased up and harvested more birds than many had anticipated. By noon the parties had harvested 30 birds and reported flushing up well more than 150 others.

"I am surprised to see as many birds,'' said Tom Landwehr, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. His son, Hunter, age 13, harvested his limit of two birds.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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