MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton will help kick off the 2016 Minnesota deer hunting opener.

Dayton will be in the Breezy Point and Pequot Lakes area. In the afternoon, he’ll attend a Youth Outdoor Expo — and later will speak at the deer opener community banquet.

More than half a million hunters are expected to be out for the opener this weekend.

Minnesota’s deer population has grown thanks to two straight mild winters and harvests that were kept low to help rebuild the herd.

About 70 percent of the state’s firearms deer harvest typically takes place within the first three or four days of the season.

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