Waterfowl Production Areas in Minnesota will be open to hunters when the state's pheasant season begins Saturday at 9 a.m.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the announcement Friday afternoon, making about 300,000 acres of pheasant lands available to hunters. The lands had been considered off-limits during the government shutdown.

In its announcement, the service said:

"It has been determined that allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) will not incur further government expenditure or obligation and is allowable under a government shutdown. Therefore, effective immediately, all WPAs will reopen to public use.

"As the shutdown continues, if the Service determines that maintaining the WPAs in open status, individually or cumulatively, would likely cause Service expenditures or obligations to be made in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Service will close public access.''