WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 08, 2013, 09:16 PM

Deer opener in Minnesota

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - Deer hunting gives a huge boost to Minnesota's economy each year.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - Deer hunting gives a huge boost to Minnesota's economy each year.

Hunters coming from near and far contribute nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

We know hunting is a tradition for many people in Minnesota.

But it also means huge dollars signs for the tourism industry.

For many Minnesota families, hunting is just another part of growing up.

Greg Smedsrud/Grew up hunting: "I've been hunting forever. Ever since I was just a young boy."

Jeff Smedsrud/Grew up hunting: "It's wonderful hunting up here, but most of all it's just good people. It's just great Minnesota folks and it's a lot of fun."

There is no bigger celebration of that tradition than the annual deer opener weekend.

As hunters hope to snag a big buck, that means big bucks for the economy.

Hunting is a $725 million dollar industry, and deer hunting alone contributes nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to Minnesota's economy.

John Edman/Explore Minnesota Director: "People come to our state because of our natural resources, our lakes and our prairies, which give a lot of opportunities for abundant wildlife."

Each hunter spends an average of $1400.

That includes everything from ammunition, to lodging, to warm gear.

For JK Sports in Fergus Falls, it's a busy weekend.

John Klinnert/JK Sports Owner: "Just because its deer hunting weekend they come in they get some cold gear or some gloves or whatever it happens to be."

But those heading out to their deer stands aren't thinking about all of that.

They're just looking to make some memories.

Smedsrud: "I think hunting in part is not about the hunt. It's about the stories, it's about the people, it's about relationships and the memories."

About 500,000 Minnesotans are expected to hunt this deer season.