Governor’s Pheasant Opener begins Friday in Madelia

MADELIA – A new “Best of the Best” exhibition shooting team, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr, and outdoors television show production company owner Ron Schara are among those featured at the third annual Minnesota 2013 Governor’s Pheasant Hunt Friday and Saturday in Madelia.

There will also be a veterans memorial dedication, community breakfast, public land dedication, governor’s reception and free concert by Martin Zellar and the Hardaways.

“It’s going to be quite a weekend. … Many events are free and open to the public,” said DNR Southern Region Information Officer Scott Roemhildt. “We’re looking at about 80 hunters including media and legislators. … Madelia has 7,500 acres of public and walk-in access land. … Not being able to use 13 percent of planned land due to the (federal government) shutdown really won’t affect the event much.”

The public is invited to all events except the Saturday morning hunt that includes a Wounded Warriors program for veterans. The Wounded Warriors will participate in a non-traditional hunt on land that previously served for sewage treatment ponds. Madelia converted old sewage treatment ponds to wildlife habitat and hunting grounds, starting in 1993.

“It was an innovative approach that saved money while benefitting the environment, and creating access for non-traditional hunters such as those on wheelchairs,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Public Information Officer Cathy Rofshus.

In 1993 Madelia upgraded its wastewater treatment system. The project left three ponds – covering more than 33 acres – in need of cleanup. Facing a project costing more than $2 million to clean the ponds the traditional way, the city hired local firms to do the work at a cost of approximately $1 million, The city retained local land control for future use, and improved the environment.

Friday events begin at 10:30 a.m. with sporting clays, trap, duck flurry and kids trap pits at the Madelia Golf Course, which will become a weekend shooting range. A best of the best shooting tournament with the world’s top shotgun exhibition shooters, begins at 4:30 p.m.

Dayton is expected to take part in a KIA/MIA Memorial dedication at 4 p.m. Friday at the Madelia Veterans Memorial at the corner of Main and Benzel. The memorial is in memory of 19 Madelia service members who were killed in action. Navy Lieutenant Commander Michael E. Quinn of Madelia was listed as Missing In Action in the Vietnam War.

The Governor’s reception and banquet emceed by Schara begins at 6 p.m. Friday in a large frame tent outside the VFW/Legion. A free concert by Martin Zellar and the Hardaways follows at 9 p.m.

The Younger Brothers Wildlife Management Area, a 155-acre parcel the DNR received in 2012 from Pheasants Forever, located five miles west of Madelia, off County Road 3, will be dedicated Saturday noon.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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