PHOTOS Page 2

Governor Tim Pawlenty and Luke discuss their mutual interest in hockey.   Not only is the Governor a big hockey fan, but he also plays the sport.

Getting the Governor's autograph on the blaze orange caps given out at the banquet was a popular activity.

The Big Buck Banquet held in Rochester was a popular event on the Thursday evening before the opener.   Close to 200 hunter hosts, media and guests were in attendance.

On opening morning there was precious little time for conversing in and around the garage.

For the past 25 years this small garage has been our base camp for the hunters to come in from the elements and to warm up with good food and fellowship.   While many hunters have been part of our group over the years...we never dreamt that one day we would be hunting with the Governor.

Indeed, this year for some reason wives and neighbors attended to wish us all good luck before the hunt.   Most years they have just stayed in bed...I guess there's a first for everything.

Of course, getting to meet Governor Tim Pawlenty and to hang out with him even for just a few minutes was well worth the trouble of rising a bit early.

The Governor was very gracious to let us all take lots of pictures with him...even on a day when I'm sure he was looking forward to just getting away from the cameras and spending some peaceful time in the tree stand.

It truly was a unique sight to see so many important vehicles in and around the Braaten Farm.

From State Trooper security vehicles to the many DNR Conservation Officer trucks, it was a constant reminder that this was not going to be an ordinary deer hunting opener here at the farm.

And even though the morning hunt ended without most of the hunters shooting a deer, we all gathered back at the farm four hours later with big smiles on our faces.

This was also a time for neighbors who couldn't get out of bed earlier to get a quick picture taken before the Governor left for his news conference announcing that once again in 2006 he did not shoot a deer.

Not everyone in the hunting party could say the same.   Here, Chris poses with a nice 8 pointer that was shot only a few hundred yards from where the Governor was seated.

Just a week later, in almost the exact same location, Chris shot this monster 14-point buck proving once again the Braaten Farm occasionally grows some big deer.

Back at the farm the Governor was generous with his time getting to know the kids, but also listening to the story of how a neighbor shot this 10-point buck just hours earlier.

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2006 James Braaten
Page Last Updated on 12/09/2006