In just a few days Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be joining the throngs of orange-clad hunters taking to the woods. For Pawlenty, the 2009 Minnesota firearms deer opener marks his 7th appearance as Minnesota’s most notable deer hunting personality. In fact, during the six previous appearances the Governor’s track record for harvesting a deer has been 1 deer in 6 opening day attempts—that’s slightly below state average in terms of the firearms success ratio.
Well, for purposes of full-disclosure, I must reluctantly take some responsibility for Governor Pawlenty’s lack of success in the deer woods. You see, back a few years ago Governor Pawlenty deer hunted on my farm to kick off the 2006 Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener (GDHO). I could offer up a host of excuses why the Governor left the woods empty-handed that Saturday morning…but suffice it to say we all gave it our best effort to achieve a successful outcome.
The process of preparing for the GDHO took months of logistical planning as a host site for the event. In the process, I discovered a lot about Governor Pawlenty and his genuine dedication to the heritage of Minnesota deer hunting. What I discovered was not just a politician trying to put a smiling face on an activity, but instead, a man with a sincere respect for the nearly one half million sportsmen who annually enjoy the sport of firearms deer hunting in Minnesota.
Yet, this blog post is really not about Governor Pawlenty, per se. It’s more about his eventual successor—the next individual who will someday occupy the Governor’s chair at the Minnesota State Capitol. Not only is next year (2010) a big election year, but we now know it also marks Governor Pawlenty’s very last event serving as Minnesota’s top deer hunter.
So, what if Minnesota’s next Governor does not hunt? How would you feel about that? Should they be pressured into keeping this gubernatorial tradition alive for the sake of appeasing the sportsman populace? For that matter, is the Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener really that important to the rank and file deer hunter whose main interest anyway is to put venison in the freezer?
I personally have strong feelings that no matter who occupies Minnesota’s top office next, the tradition of the Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener should be continued and experienced by our state leader. If the person doesn’t deer hunt all the more reason they should be out there on opening morning learning as much as they can about the sport so many Minnesotans cherish.
In June when it’s Dairy Month does the Governor typically make an appearance at a farm to celebrate that industry’s contribution to our state’s economy…you bet! If Minnesota’s medical device industry has some healthcare breakthrough is the Governor likely to show first-hand support…again, you bet they will! Then, is it too much to ask for the Governor of our state to spend a few hours each year in the deer woods sharing a common bond with the largest segment of the Minnesota hunting industry…I certainly don’t think so!
Don’t forget hunting in Minnesota represents a huge industry that has both a large social and an economic impact to the state. This important news deserves to be emphasized annually by Minnesota’s Governor and there’s no better way to do it than by celebrating it.
Indeed, Governor Tim Pawlenty may have started a tradition back in 2003 when he took part in the inaugural event known as the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. Yet, as Minnesota sportsmen, let’s all hope the GDHO is one important Minnesota hunting tradition that is embraced by the next several Minnesota Governors still to come.
© 2009 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.