Minnesota’s pheasant hunters will look to Marshall this weekend as the city hosts the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

It is the second time in the event’s seven-year history that Marshall, in southwestern Minnesota, has hosted the event.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will lead the festivities, which highlight the many community assets Marshall has to offer.

"I am proud of Minnesota’s great hunting traditions, and I have enjoyed pheasant hunting here for over sixty years,” Dayton said. “For the past seven years, we have held Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Openers, which have been very popular. I thank our wonderful hosts in the Marshall area for all of their hard work to make this year's Opener such an outstanding event. I invite all Minnesotans to join us for this special Minnesota tradition.”

On Friday afternoon, a dedication of the James Meger Memorial Wildlife Management Area will take place at 4 p.m. The Department of Natural Resources worked with Pheasants Forever and more than a dozen other conservation groups and major contributors to make the WMA a reality. It is named for the late James Meger, a wildlife artist and Lyon County native who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation groups through his artwork.

On Friday night, the public is invited to join Dayton and Smith at a community banquet at Southwest Minnesota State University. The event will run from 6-8:30 p.m., with social hour, dinner and a program featuring the governor as well as local community leaders. On Saturday, hunters will take to the field for the pheasant hunt.

Marshall previously hosted the second Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in 2012. The first Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener was held in 2011 in Montevideo.

With a population of 13,680, Marshall is located 150 miles southwest of the Twin Cities at the junctions of U.S. Highway 59 and state highways 19, 23 and 68. Marshall and southwest Minnesota actively promote hunting and outdoor recreation. Within 25 miles of Marshall, there are 37 Walk-In Access areas totaling just under 3,000 acres, 20 waterfowl production areas totaling approximately 3,779 acres and 132 WMAs totaling 24,407 acres. In Lyon County alone, there are 47 WMAs totaling 11,184 acres. All are open to public hunting.