MAKING MY WAY TO MADELIA.

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The 2013 Pheasant Opener is in the books. How’d it go for you?

Fortunately for me, I wasn’t out for a bag limit today.  It would have been nice, but once the corn comes off and the weather pushes the birds into the heavier cover, I’ll be out every day trying to fill the freezer. The event I attended in Madelia was to celebrate the tasty import and continue the push for more habitat so we can grow the population-and the popularity-of pheasants.

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This marked year three of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, an annual gathering started by Governor Dayton in Montevideo/Watson in 2011.  Like before, there was a public land dedication at this year’s event, giving hunters another option for walking-and more importantly more habitat for the birds.

Governor Mark Dayton thanking everyone involved

Governor Mark Dayton thanking everyone involved

Despite the rare October thunderstorm that worked my windshield wipers into a frenzy, I enjoyed my drive to Madelia.  I traveled through Granite Falls and Redwood Falls, through the Upper Sioux Agency area along the Minnesota River.  The scenic route was a pleasant surprise.

A scenic drive through the Minnesota River Valley, complete with Upper Sioux teepees!

A scenic drive through the Minnesota River Valley, complete with Upper Sioux teepees!

I arrived at the Madelia Golf Course for a round of sporting clays.  You heard that correctly, they had sporting clays set up on the fairways of the course.  In fact, Bill Sherck and I used a golf cart to move from station to station.  My trusty Beretta strapped into the bag holder along side Bill’s new toy, a 1930s Parker side by side.

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What kind of meal would you expect at a pheasant opener dinner?  If you said steak and chicken kabobs, you’d be the winner.  It was an adventurous offering that included couscous and hummus. (At least I think that’s what I was told.)  But the gigantic tent full of hunters walked away full and happy.

We got a sneak peek at the new critical habitat license plates that will be available November 1st:

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Rumors of a duck plate coming next were swirling….

Mika and Raven the third

Mika and Raven the third

Ron Schara’s Raven and my lab Mika started out Saturday morning together with a little stretching at the hotel before we got started.   Then it was off to our chosen field.

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Bill Sherck shoulders his classic Parker side by side during a round of sporting clays

I had the chance to pick the brain of a couple DNR guys like Southern Region Wildlife Manager Ken Varland, a 29 year veteran of the Minnesota DNR.   In between hen flushes, I learned about types of grass and how the land we hunted had been crops not too long ago.  Now it was a flourishing prairie, holding a large number of whitetail deer, pheasants and other wildlife.

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There may have only been 2 roosters out of the dozen birds we flushed, but it was nice to see land get converted to crp in this day and age of high commodity prices.

The new public land just outside Madelia

The new public land just outside Madelia

We also had the chance to be a part of a new public land dedication.   More public land available for wildlife in the spring and hunters in the fall.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr discusses the importance of creating more habitat and recruiting young hunters.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr discusses the importance of creating more habitat and recruiting young hunters.

The announcement was also made that Worthington would be the host of the 2014 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.  Hopefully we have a short winter and an easy spring, so we can knock down a few roosters next year.

Chad Bloom from Pheasants Forever speaks at the land dedication.

Chad Bloom from Pheasants Forever speaks at the land dedication.

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3 thoughts on “MAKING MY WAY TO MADELIA.

  1. We’re huge fans of stories wherein hunters and fishermen take over stewardship of the land and create habitat that benefits game and other species. We’ve still never gotten to go pheasant hunting, but enjoy reading about it. Nice post!

  2. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet you and hunt with you and your dog. If you ever want to come to Madelia and hunt again. Let me know I would be honored to show you more spots.

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