FERGUS FALLS, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is heading to Fergus Falls for the 17th annual Governor's Deer Hunting Opener.

Walz will speak at the Big Buck Brunch on Friday to kick off the event. He will meet later with local fourth and fifth graders to talk about the importance of outdoor education.

The governor will head into the woods on Saturday morning for the opening of Minnesota's firearms deer season.

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This will be Walz's first Governor's Deer Hunting Opener, a tradition that began under Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Walz is known mostly as a pheasant hunter.

Nearly 500,000 hunters are expected to participate in Minnesota's 2019 deer season. According to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, all hunting-related expenditures in Minnesota totaled $725 million annually, with deer hunting helping to support 3,760 jobs.

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