FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — The state of Minnesota has its sights set on Fergus Falls Nov. 7-10 for the Governor's Deer Hunting Opener.
Hundreds of hunters from across the region, some coming from as far away as Canada, are expected to have a positive impact on local businesses, according to Visit Fergus Falls Executive Director Jean Bowman, who says the event will have a trickle-down effect on the community's economy.
"They stay in our hotels, and eat in our restaurants and they’re going to hunt in our Otter Tail County properties," she explained. "A lot more people will be exposed to that thought: Fergus Falls is great as a hunting destination."
Bowman can't put a specific dollar amount on what the opener brings, but says the benefits to the community are massive.
Some hunters come as far as Winnipeg to take part, growing tourism and bringing a new audience to see what Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County and the state of Minnesota have to offer.
"Deer hunting is a little different than all these other openers where we can kind of keep everybody in, because folks are going back up north to their hunting camps or down to Houston County," said Gov. Tim Walz.
While Walz says a lot of hunting outings are built on family and traditions for him, he agrees bringing the opener to the small Minnesota community is also a no-brainer for business.
Each hunter on average shells out around $1,500 each year on the sport, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"This is not just a great activity to get folks outside and with family, it’s about a quarter billion dollar industry in deer hunting to get folks up here," Walz said.
Walz said Minnesotans take part in outdoor activities twice as much as the rest of the country, which is a key reason Visit Fergus Falls jumped on the opportunity to bid on hosting the Governor’s Fishing Opener in the spring.
Planning starts for that as soon as the hunting opener passes.