Minnesota BHA to host Governor's Deer Hunting Opener

October 19, 2023

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced that the 2023 Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener will take place in southeast Minnesota at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro November 3-4.

“Minnesota is home to exceptional public lands and unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state,” Governor Walz said. “I look forward to commemorating the time-honored deer hunting tradition that so many Minnesotans celebrate each year.”

The celebration is organized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota in partnership with Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Bluffland Whitetails Association, and the Minnesota Conservation Federation.

“Nearly half a million Minnesotans deer hunt each year, and this year’s event will celebrate that rich tradition, whether a hunter’s tradition is new or generations old,”Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “From the southern farmlands to the Northwoods, and all corners of our state, I am excited to welcome hunters to deer season.”

The governor’s recognition and celebration of Minnesota’s deer hunting tradition will be on Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4, at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, a year-round facility that provides children, adults, and families with outdoor learning and experiences.

“The location of this year’s Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener provides the opportunity to highlight Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, a well-respected outdoor recreation facility that serves over 16,000 children, adults , and families annually,”Explore Minnesota Director Lauren Bennett McGinty said. “Minnesota’s annual deer hunting season is a significant driver of spending at tourism-related businesses beyond summer and fall color seasons. The dollars invested by deer hunters provide crucial support to local businesses, serving as a cornerstone for the overall economic well-being of our state.”

Highlights of the 2023 Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener include:

  • Listening session (Nov. 3): DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen will host a gathering of hunters to share their perspectives on a variety of deer and deer hunting topics.
  • Deer processing demo and venison sampling (Nov. 3) : Attendees will be able to observe a deer processing demo, followed by a venison sampler of southeast Asian-inspired recipes prepared by members of the Hmong hunting community, including Keng Yang, MN BHA Board Member.
  • Opening day of Minnesota’s firearms deer season (Nov. 4) :
    • Post-hunt: Hunters, including the governor and mentor and mentee pairs, will gather to share stories from the hunt.
    • Social media highlights of opening day: All hunters are invited to join Gov. Walz and others in sharing a favorite memory from opening day of the firearms season on social media using the hashtags #DeerCampMN and #OnlyInMN.

“We are honored to be a host for this year’s Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener,” said Taylor Bestor, Bluffland Whitetails Association president. “This year’s event will celebrate the diverse backgrounds and experiences that define our state’s hunting tradition, and we look forward to forging new connections while honoring the values that bind us together.”

“We’re excited to add a fresh twist to tradition by hosting a venison sampler,” said Eli Mansfield, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Minnesota chapter board chair. “Communing over meals is where stories are swapped, traditions are honored, and new friendships are forged. It’s a time to savor not only the flavors of the harvest but also the bonds that tie us as hunters and stewards of the outdoors.”

“As hunters begin their preparation for opening day, consider the impact you can make by guiding a newcomer into the world of hunting,” said Brad Gausman, Minnesota Conservation Federation executive director. “Introducing someone to hunting is an investment in our shared legacy. Let’s ensure that Minnesota’s hunting tradition endures by sharing the passion this year.”

“We are thrilled to host the Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener," said Colleen Foehrenbacher, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center executive director. “We appreciate the opportunity to shine a spotlight on hunting and its ties to conservation, education and outdoor experiences.”

The Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener, now in its third decade celebrates the state’s white-tailed deer hunting heritage. It fosters conversations on deer management, promotes outdoor skills, and underscores the economic benefits of hunting and tourism.

About Minnesota BHA Chapter

Minnesota BHA seeks to ensure our North American heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting on wild, public lands and waters through education, advocacy, and boots on the ground work.

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