FERGUS FALLS (AP) - Thousands of blaze-orange-clad Minnesotans are preparing to head to their favorite spot in search of deer as the shotgun season opens.

The season starts on Saturday, but festivities to mark the opening weekend are underway.

Gov. Mark Dayton was headed to Fergus Falls on Friday to host the traditional "Big Buck" luncheon planned around the Governor's Deer Hunting Opener. The event is held in a different city each year and is designed to promote tourism that comes with hunting.

Nearly a half-million people participate in deer hunting in Minnesota. Next year's location will be revealed at the luncheon.

Dayton doesn't plan to be part of the actual hunt.