BREEZY POINT -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty will host the first Governor's Deer Hunting Opener in November in the Brainerd area.
Pawlenty made the announcement Saturday night at a Minnesota Deer Hunter's Association meeting at the Breezy Point Convention Center.
"Deer hunting is an important tradition in Minnesota," Pawlenty said. "We have an obligation to pass that tradition on to the younger generation. Not only is deer hunting part of our heritage and culture, it also plays a large role in our state's tourism industry. We asked, 'How can the governor's office help promote this sport?' "
Pawlenty said the event will be modeled after the Governor's Fishing Opener, with some modifications. The fishing opener draws big crowds of interested spectators and media. Fishing might be compatible with crowds, but deer hunting is not.
"We want to make sure there are opportunities for people to hunt but that there's enough space so it's safe," Pawlenty said. "Just as importantly we will have some community events so people from the larger area can come together."
The governor's opener will include a banquet the Saturday night of the opener, a gun safety class for youths and other community events.
The idea originated with Charlie Weaver, Pawlenty's chief of staff. Weaver's cousin owns 80 acres near Bar Harbor and that is where Pawlenty plans to hunt Nov. 8, opening day for firearms hunters. Pawlenty said he isn't sure yet who will be in his personal entourage.
"It will be exciting to get back out there," said Pawlenty, who said he hasn't hunted deer "in a long time."
Minnesota will be the first state to have a Governor's Deer Opener. Future sites will rotate around the state, similar to the fishing opener. Details for this year's event will be worked out over the next 60 days, Pawlenty said.
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