Governor Tim Walz and Kevin Hinze

Governor Tim Walz and Kevin Hinze spent Minnesota 2021 firearm deer hunting opener at Hinze's land in Pine County. 

Governor Tim Walz took part in Minnesota’s 2021 firearm deer hunting season opener on Saturday in Pine County. 

Governor Walz hunted with Brady Crocker and Kevin Hinze and on the Hinze family’s private property. The family permanently protected their land by donating a conservation easement to Minnesota Land Trust, a voluntary program that protects habitat and wildlife on private land for the benefit of this and future generations.

Following the hunt, Walz, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Sarah Strommen, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen visited one of the state’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling sites in at the Pine City Armory. 

Walz and Strommen and Petersen highlighted the efforts to reduce the risk of CWD transmission and protect Minnesota’s wild deer herd.

“Deer hunting is a treasured annual tradition that brings Minnesotans together around our shared love for the outdoors and camaraderie of the hunt,” Walz said. “This is also a time to remember that hunters can play a big role in preventing the spread of CWD. I ask all Minnesota deer hunters to be aware of CWD regulations and use one of the state’s sampling sites if hunting in a mandatory or voluntary sampling area. As a lifelong hunter, I understand the seriousness of this disease and my administration is committed to doing everything we can to reduce the continued risk in Minnesota.”

Chronic wasting disease testing site at the Pine City Armory

Governor Tim Walz and other state officials stopped by a chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing site at the Pine City Armory after spending hunting opener on the farm of Kevin Hinze in Pine County. 


The governor then visited the CWD sampling site in Pine City, one of many sampling sites for deer hunters across Minnesota. During opening weekend for the firearms season this year, people hunting in CWD surveillance, control, or management zones must bring their harvested deer to sampling stations to be tested for CWD. Voluntary sampling options are available outside of opening weekends for deer harvested within a CWD zone.

“CWD monitoring is a critical part of the DNR’s commitment to limit the spread of the disease and keep Minnesota’s wild deer healthy,” Strommen said. “Deer hunters are encouraged to make a plan for their season and to get details on CWD sampling options across the state on our website. We appreciate the partnership DNR has with Minnesota’s deer hunters in important conservation efforts. We wish everyone a safe season.”

Hinze had just one word to describe the experience: “Awesome.” 

More information on deer hunting in Minnesota and CWD testing is available at


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