Madelia calls itself the Pheasant Capital of Minnesota, and it will be on Saturday when it hosts the 2013 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.
The 120 or so people invited to the hunt have long been selected, but the public still can participate at a number of events, including a banquet Friday night and pancake breakfast Saturday morning.
"We wanted as much of the event open to the public as possible,'' said Dan Madsen, city manager.
He noted there are 8,600 acres of public hunting land within 20 miles of Madelia, and he's optimistic hunters will find some roosters.
Here are some of the public events:
Gov. Mark Dayton launched the first Governor’s Pheasant Opener two years ago at Montevideo, and hunted roosters there and last year at the second event in Marshall. (Photo above is from the Marshall hunt.)
Dayton will be at many of the events in Madelia on Friday and Saturday, including the banquet, breakfast and land dedication, but won't be hunting this year. Dayton, 66, who grew up hunting, tore a hip muscle in June.
“He’s still healing from that,’’ said Matt Swenson, the governor’s press secretary.
For more information about the event, see www.mnpheasant.com.
This painting by Ed DuRose of Roseville was selected as the winning design for the 2014 pheasant habitat stamp.
His entry was among 11 in this year's contest. Last year, DuRose finished second.
The $7.50 pheasant stamp is required of all Minnesota pheasant hunters ages 18 through 64. Stamp sales generate money for habitat enhancement efforts on both public and private lands in Minnesota’s pheasant range.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work, which is usually done as limited edition prints. The 2014 Pheasant Stamp will be available for sale in March.
Think the federal shutdown doesn't affect Minnesota hunters?
The shutdown will prevent hunters from hunting some federal lands, including National Wildlife Refuges and, more importantly, waterfowl production areas scattered around the state.
In Minnesota, the Fish and Wildlife Service oversees nine national wildlife refuges and nine wetland management districts totaling 481,000 acres that now are closed to public use, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.
"Of course, public safety is of the utmost importance on our federal lands and we will have a dedicated group of law enforcement officers working across these lands,'' Tina Shaw, public affairs specialist for the service, said Monday before the shutdown.
In the Twin Cities, Capable Partners, which helps get disabled hunters hunting and fishing, won't be able to archery or waterfowl hunt in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, as it has been doing in recent days. See my story on Capable Partners in Friday's Outdoors Weekend.
Meanwhile, here's a link to the Fish and Wildlife Service's statement posted on the agency's website: http://www.startribune.com/a2503
The DNR's weekly waterfowl migration report is out, and waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts reports duck hunting success was fair to good across the state. Hunter success was generally better in the west and south, where blue-winged teal are more abundant, he said.
Here are the number of ducks shot per hunter at various locations across the state on opening day, compared to 2012: Thief Lake WMA (1.9 vs. 2.9), Tamarac NWR (2.0 vs. 2.0), Big Rice by Remer (1.9 vs. 1.5), Big White Oak (1.6 vs. 2.0), Mud Goose WMA (2.2 vs. 3.6), Roseau WMA (2.3 vs. 1.6), Canosia WMA (0.7 vs. 0.5), Lac qui Parle WMA (3.2 vs. 4.0), Carlos Avery WMA (1.4 vs. 1.3) and Swan Lake (1.6 vs. 2.9).
You can see the full report at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/waterfowl/index.html