Planning is underway for the ninth annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, being held October 11-12, 2019. This year’s event will be held in Austin, located in the southeastern part of the state. It is the first time Austin has hosted the event.

“Thank you to the city of Austin for graciously hosting the 2019 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” said Governor Tim Walz. “I can’t wait to continue this tradition in Southern Minnesota this year and spend some time enjoying our state’s natural beauty and recreational activities.”

Austin was selected through an application process that considered hunting land in the area, event facilities and community support. With the recent resurgence in the pheasant population in the Austin area, conservationists and hunters in Mower County are excited to showcase this hunting resource. Austin’s outdoors heritage includes the Cedar River State Water Trail, grasslands, state parks and nearby state recreational trails. Austin has 13 miles of paved bike trails within its city limits and also is proud of the over 500-acre Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, which consists of restored prairie grasslands, woodlands and a new interactive interpretive center.

“We’re very excited to host the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” said Sandy Forstner, chairman of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener committee in Austin. “This will be a great way to showcase not only the many hunting opportunities available surrounding Austin, but also the wide range of tourism opportunities in the immediate area.”

In addition to pheasant hunting, the weekend event will include a public dedication of a new parcel of public land north of Austin, and a Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener Community Banquet. Information and updates will be available at

The Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener was initiated by Governor Dayton in 2011. The event highlights the local hunting, recreational, and tourism opportunities host communities have to offer visitors. This is the first Pheasant Hunting Opener for Gov. Walz as Governor, however, he’s attended previous openers as an invited guest.

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

Follow along for social media updates using the hashtags #MNGPHO2019 and #OnlyinMN.