MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You have heard of the Governor’s Fishing Opener and the Governor’s Pheasant Opener. But what about the Governor’s Turkey Hunt? It wasn’t a thing until this year.

Early Saturday morning, Gov. Tim Walz braved the elements and joined a hunting party near Northfield.

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Gov. Tim Walz & DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen (credit: CBS)

“It was fun, we were coming back empty-handed, but it was fun,” Walz said.

Each person went out with a guide from the National Wild Turkey Federation, all in an effort to start the tradition of turkey hunting.

“This is a very engaged group of folks who were involved in this. They do incredible work around conservation, getting folks engaged, and we wanted to highlight that work and then also show that this is another activity in Minnesota,” Walz said.

The governor’s guide, Wayne Wiener, even taught him how to call the turkeys.

Like the governor, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen had never hunted turkey before.

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“First time. Can’t ask for a better result!” Strommen said.

For both the governor and the commissioner, this is more than just the fun of the hunt.

“I think one of the great things about turkey hunting and the National Turkey Hunting Federation is they are about the habitat and the hunt,” Strommen said. “So it’s about our conservation legacy as well as the hunting heritage, and getting people outside enjoying all that Minnesota has to offer.”

This turkey hunt is something the governor wants to do every year.

“I said I’m even more excited … now the challenge is on!” Walz said. “This was supposed to be the ‘Governor’s Turkey Hunt.’ It’s the ‘DNR Commissioner’s Turkey Hunt!’ She got the turkey!”

Walz and Strommen were joined on the hunt by United States Representative Angie Craig, State Senator Matt Little and State Representative Todd Lippert.

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If you are interested in a mentored hunt, email tglines@nwtf.net.

Katie Steiner