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Scott Rall: Getting the big news

Scott Rall

Daily Globe outdoors writer 

The news is out. On the front page of the Daily Globe last Saturday the governor announced that Worthington was going to be the host city for the 2014 Governor’s Pheasant Opener.

This is pretty cool but really just what does that mean? The Governor’s Pheasant Opener is a two-day event that requires a year-long planning and execution activity. It will take many folks and lots of effort to pull this off in a manner that represents Worthington and the surrounding area to a very high level.

From a hunting perspective we will need to be able to provide about 100 hunters an outdoor experience that showcases our county and its wildlife habitats. All of these folks will be hunting at the same time, which at two hunters per guide we will need 50 guides with dogs and almost as many places to hunt. This hunt will take place almost entirely on private lands.

Our area already gets a large number of hunters from all over the state, and we do not want to fill up all of the public hunting areas with guests from the Governor’s Hunt. The hunt takes place on opening weekend so there will already be plenty of hunters out and about.

Each of the past three years this event has gotten bigger and bigger. Not necessarily from the numbers of hunters participating, because that is an invitation-only event, but from the number of local residents that take part in the weekend’s events.

The first host had 200 people attend the public reception, and last weekend Madeila had over 400. Madelia also had on hand a trick shooter demonstration, a sporting clay range and many other activities.

All of these events are intended to include the local residents and to promote our area to those who know little about southwest Minnesota the diverse economy that we have here — and the hunting opportunities that abound. It is a “come and look see what we have to offer” event. Media outlets from all over the state will be here to cover the event and will travel home to write stories about what they saw and learned.

In an effort to get the best coverage and the most in-depth coverage, every form of media is invited. Papers, radio, magazines and internet publications are all on the invitation list. Some of the folks I have met have never even seen a pheasant before.

Some of the things that the hosting organizations will be sure to make sure the governor sees on his trip to Nobles County include the historic Dayton House that his family in great measure helped to restore and protect in Worthington. This is a gem so wonderful and unique that we should all be very proud to have it in our town.

On the list of must-sees also includes the 30 land acquisitions that Nobles County Pheasants Forever has acquired over the past 30 years, including Pheasant Run One — which was the very first land acquisition ever done by a chapter and opened to public hunting. This will be where the governor will make his attempt to bag a rooster on the 2014 opener.

The governor only hunts on public lands during this event.

I have said for years that if the governor ever went fishing or hunting with me in Nobles County that he might actually be able to catch or shoot something. His luck at these events has not been all that good. Now I will have to put my money where my mouth is and see if I can deliver on my big boast. Only time will tell.

We will have the opportunity to show off our new community event center and give the local residents who might not have seen it yet the chance to do so. We have a lot of great thing happening in town and we don’t always give our community all of the credit it deserves.

It will take everyone pulling together to make this bigger and better than it has been done up to this point, and other communities have done a great job. The bar is set pretty high and we will raise yet a little more.

This will be the first of the many requests by the organizing committee requesting your help and support. As a representative of Nobles County Pheasants Forever, which is the group in charge of organizing the hunt portion of the weekend, I am asking you that if you are willing to volunteer as a hunting guide and have a good dog or two — or if you are a land owner willing to let the Governor’s hunt take place on your property for as little as three hours, please make that initial contact early by sending me an email at

We are already compiling the names of those interested parties as we speak. Hunting lands need to be within 25 miles but hunting guides can be from anywhere.

I have heard a saying that goes like this: The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Worthington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau do all these things that most folks think just happen on their own. Big events like this one do not happen on their own.

These are two great organizations, and Pheasants Forever is excited to help them pull off the best Governor’s Hunt ever.