Landowners sought for 2019 governor’s hunt; Hunt expected to give boost to local tourism

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Gov. Tim Walz

Minnesota landowners with grassland or wetlands within 20 miles of Austin are being sought to participate in the 2019 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener (GPHO) in October.

Gov. Tim Walz will lead the event, taking place Oct. 11-12, 2019, which showcases the many hunting, recreational, tourism, and community opportunities that the Austin area has to offer visitors. Walz has participated in past years; however, it will be his first Opener as Minnesota’s governor.

“I’m eager to celebrate this special tradition and am grateful that the people of Austin have offered to host the 2019 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” Walz said. “It’s an honor to carry this tradition forward, and I look forward to many fantastic memories being made in Austin this fall.”

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The planning committee is reaching out to landowners who may be willing to grant access to hunters involved in the event. The land will be hunted only on Oct. 12, 2019.

“We have some really good stories to tell in our area about people doing really good things with private lands and conservation,” said Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Justin Hanson. “There is no better way to highlight that than to bring folks to the area and bring them to that land and show folks what we’ve got going on out here.”

Invited hunters will be led by local hunter hosts, which may include local landowners. Ideal lands for the GPHO include grasslands or wetlands that support pheasant populations.

Landowners interested in promoting hunting, conservation and tourism in the area by allowing hunting access for the event or seeking additional information should contact Hanson at or 507-434-2603 ext. 5, or stop by the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District office at 1408 21st Ave. NW in Austin.

Initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011, the GHPO highlights the local hunting, recreational, and tourism opportunities host communities have to offer visitors.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase all of the attractions and attributes the area has, including our hunting heritage and the economic impact of the sport in the hope that it will generate associated travel and tourism for our community,” said Discover Austin Executive Director Nancy Schnable. “We have a huge need for volunteers. If anyone wants to be a volunteer, we have plenty of things to do.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the GPHO can visit Discover Austin at 301 Main St. N #101 in Austin or call 507-437-4563.

Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are assisting Discover Austin and other local partners in planning the event.