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Archived Story

Hopeful hunt

Published 2:01pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Like many hunters around the state, Mike Robertson spent the last few months preparing for this weekend’s deer hunting opener.

“I’m looking for a big buck,” Robertson said with a laugh.

But for Robertson — president of the Fergus Falls chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association — the city of Fergus Falls and other local businesses, the upcoming Governor’s Opener weekend means much more than the prospects of taking a 12-pointer.

“It’s just a great deal to promote the sport, shooting sports in general, and for deer hunting,” Robertson said. “We’re expecting a good number of people out for the events, just so people come out and have fun and promote the sport, that’s what we hope we’ll do.”

This year’s Governor’s Opener could not come to Fergus Falls at a better time for local businesses and groups. After mild winters and conservative deer management throughout most of the state, hunters can expect a good season, according to the Department of National Resources’ website.

Hunters in Minnesota harvested 186,000 deer last year. A similar harvest is expected this year.

That could mean more visitors to the area as the state officially opens the hunting season in Fergus Falls.

The local Deer Hunters Association chapter, along with other nature and wildlife groups in the area, look to capitalize on those prospects this weekend as state and regional media outlets converge on Fergus Falls.

“All of these conservation groups rely on the community for support,” Robertson said. “I think this helps donors realize how integral a part of the economy our conservation groups can be.”

As Gov. Mark Dayton makes his way to the area for the big weekend, members of the statewide hunters association, officials from the city and visitors bureau have been busy preparing to spotlight all that West Otter Tail County has to offer.

Two days of events, including shooting demonstrations, activities and plenty of food, will have enthusiasts of all ages excited for the season.

“It’s good for the community. Of course, you get that influx of people and that helps the economy around the area,” Robertson said. “But it showcases the area. Fergus Falls has quite a diversity of wildlife.”

With so much effort from different groups, the three days should represent the community well. For Robertson, the effort throughout the community showcases what good residents can do in the area.

“It is pretty exciting for Fergus Falls,” Robertson said. “A lot of the local people have stepped up to the plate. It takes a lot of effort from a lot of people to put on a production like this. It is very much a community event.”

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