More proof that we are a hopelessly divided country: The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has now refused to participate in the fall 2023 Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. 

In a disheartening move by the MDHA, the organization will not take part in the annual event, which started in 2002. 


“In a unanimous decision, our Executive Board voted not to support this year’s Governor’s Opener due to continued attempts to ban wolf hunting and anti-gun legislation within the state, which are in direct opposition to our mission.”

The MDHA has been an admirable organization. In many rural Minnesota communities, local chapters have been part of the social fabric—much like Lions or Rotary clubs. MDHA units have hosted banquets and local events that bring folks together. 

Instead, the executive board is now following the divisive path of the National Rifle Association by unnecessarily politicizing matters. 

“Until our Governor represents the interests of wild deer and deer hunters around the state, we cannot, in good conscience, support the 2023 event,” concluded the MDHA. 

Instead of its traditional role of advocating conservation and the great Minnesota heritage of deer hunting, the MDHA has evidently shifted gears. 

The NRA, was once an outdoor sports, gun safety, and conservation-oriented group—until it became a political pawn for the gun manufacturing industry. It appears the MDHA is heading in the same direction. 

The governor’s deer hunting opener, like the governor’s fishing opener, is intended as an upbeat, educational event—spotlighting the good things about Minnesota outdoors. These events need not be political.

Good people can have open discussions and honest disagreements about managing Minnesota’s wolf population—which, by the way, is the largest and healthiest in the lower 48 states. The wolf’s position in Minnesota legend and lore runs deep—heck, we have a pro basketball team that carries the name. 

Good people can have legitimate differences and reasonable debates on gun legislation. 

Democrats, Republicans, and independents are deer hunters. Folks of all political stripes own guns. 

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association’s decision to enter the political arena, rather than continue its traditional mission, devoted to natural resources, habitat, and wildlife, is a mistake that only further divides us—and accomplishes nothing for the management of the deer herd.