MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of thousands of hunters are out in the woods this weekend for the start of deer hunting season.

Gov. Mark Dayton is hosting the 12th Annual Governor’s Opener in Bemidji, and the DNR is predicting a harvest of 120,000 deer.

But, there’s an alternative hunt going on in Waconia this weekend.

It’s called a DEAR Hunt, which stands for “Divas Enjoying Awesome Retail.”

It’s focused on tracking down a good deal, and supporting local businesses.

Twenty-four businesses are signed up to take part in the hunt, including shops, restaurants, a salon and a hotel. Visitors receive a listing of all the places offering special features. 

“Shopping local is key to the economy, but also to keeping small-town America alive,” Chamber of Commerce president Kellie Sites said.

“He told me not to bring anything home, but I never pay attention to him,” one attendee said.

Sites said shoppers came from as far away as Rochester to take part in Saturday’s DEAR Hunting event.

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