- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton travels to Mankato Friday for the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener.

The public is invited to join Dayton for a banquet at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato Friday night. The social hour begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are available from the Visit Mankato tourism office.

Following a morning of pheasant hunting Saturday, the public is invited to the O.A. Vee Memorial Wildlife Management Area outside Mankato for a land dedication and celebration.

This will be Dayton’s fifth annual pheasant opener. Previous host communities have been Montevideo, Marshall, Madelia and Worthington.

The Department of Natural Resources estimates that Minnesota’s pheasant population is up 33 percent from last year, but it’s still 59 percent below the long-term average. Habitat loss is the main factor in the long-term decline.

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