Hundreds of people took to the fields Saturday in Minnesota as the seasoned opened on pheasant hunting. From teens to more experienced hunters, it was a day many said they wouldn’t miss.
“It’s a fun day. It’s the first day we get to get out, but it’s going to get better all throughout the season,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said.
For eight years hundreds of people have been coming out to the Minnesota Governor’s hunt. This year they flocked to Luverne.
“You go to the city that hosted it the year before and it’s kind of a competitive thing. OK they did this, they did that, they had this many numbers. Well we want to beat those,” Events chairman Rick Peterson said.
This year one major person was missing from the Governor’s hunt, the governor. He had back surgery on Friday and is still recovering. Many said at the end of the day though it’s about the birds and the community.
“We get to highlight Luverne and you know we do a lot of things around the city and then we get to get out and pheasant hunt. That’s the other part and everybody’s just totally jazzed right now,” Landwehr said.
Katie Hemme was one of those people.
“I hunted way back I think probably in 1960 or 1961,” Hemme said.
She’s 77-years-old and she said she’s not letting her age slow her down.
“I’ve had some joint issues and so I’m walking better now than I have for a long time and I thought I can do that. So I thought it would be kind of exciting. People might get a kick out of seeing an old grey haired lady out in the field so I just thought I would do it and have fun,” Hemme said.
As the sport continues to grow, so do the number of women taking part.
“It’s always been considered a man’s things. You know the women are supposed to stay home and cook the food once the husbands bring it home or the man. So it’s great seeing more women getting involved,” Hemme said.
At the end of the hunt sadly Katie didn’t walk away with a bird, but she said the experience was something she won’t forget.
“I did not have any expectation of getting a bird. I mean I really didn’t. That was not why I signed up. It would have been fun to do it,” Hemme said.
Next year’s Governor’s hunt will be held in Austin Minnesota. Pheasant hunting season in Minnesota closes January 1st and South Dakota’s pheasant hunting is currently open to residents only. Governor Mark Dayton started the hunt back in 2011.