AUSTIN, Minn. (KEYC) - In Austin hunters were up early for the 2019 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener Saturday.
We had a chance to talk with the Governor to get some insight on what the day would hold.
“Pheasant Opener’s finally here, 2019 pheasant opener, for a lot of folks it feels a little bit like Christmas. We’re gathered here in Austin, ninth year we’ve done this, the tradition of getting out at 9 am this morning folks can go out and hunt pheasants and this is just to highlight the incredible community here in Austin, it’s to highlight that these are the folks here that highlight most of the resources and work behind conservation efforts and it’s something that’s a huge tradition in Minnesota. We out pace almost any other state with the percentage of people who do outdoor activities and it’s because we’re blessed with having those resources so today is that day, everybody’s a little antsy, the dogs are getting ready to get out of the kennels so it’s pretty exciting,” Gov. Tim Walz, said.
The attendees refer to pheasant hunting as a sport but there was much more to today than any type of competition.
“The goal today is to have fun, meet new friends, reacquaint with old friends, follow your dog through the grass and hopefully a rooster jumps up in front of you and you’re able to get him with your shotgun,” Greg Hoch, Minnesota DNR prairie habitat supervisor, said.
This event involves many moving parts and Governor Walz was excited for the first year of hosting.
“I’m proud of it, it takes a lot of people to make this happen, I’m certainly just standing on the shoulders of the giants of this community that put it together, the DNR, Explore Minnesota. It feels good because I think to show people and I think a lot of these folks know how much I care about this, I’m a lifetime member of Pheasants Forever. I think the downside if there is one is there is a lot of pressure on me because they say the governor has never gotten a pheasant. The last three times I’ve attended this as a congress man, I have so it’s all been good nature joking but internally I’m really nervous about getting a pheasant,” Governor Walz, said.
Hunters were allowed to shoot up to two pheasants, afterwards there was a pheasant cleaning and opportunities for activities in town such as a Dock Dogs presentation, a Bean Bag Shootout and Octoberfest Music and Dancing.