In a previous article, we talked about the best colleges to attend if you’re an angler. I wrote that I’d burn every sick day available to be on the water for a good bite, and that it probably made me a worse student.
I can confidently say, though, that if I’d gone to a college like Boise State or Kansas State, I would have failed my first fall semester. The hunting around campuses like those is just too damn good.
But, maybe you have better self-control than I did. Or, perhaps you’re so skilled at self-delusion, you assume you can balance the siren call of stellar hunting opportunity with the requirements of a four-year degree. Either way, check out these five schools. They all come highly recommended by MeatEater staff.
Penn State – State College, PA
“Maybe Penn State is located in the center of the state to make it accessible to kids from anywhere in Pennsylvania, but I think it’s to make it easier for students to hunt between classes. Surrounded by thousands of acres of public lands, State College has everything a hunter could want: Great waterfowl, deer, bear, and turkey hunting abound on state forests and game lands minutes away (even some university land is open to hunting), and it’s a quick drive to the state’s wild north-central region.
Life on campus is pretty good for hunters, too. There are rifle and archery clubs, top-notch programs for forestry and wildlife and fisheries science, and two hunting-oriented fraternities.” –Anthony Licata
University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR
“The Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas have plenty of places to run hog wild. Northwest Arkansas is a gateway to the rugged Ozark National Forest. The Natural State boasts over 3.1 million acres of public lands full of deer and bear. Heck, if you want to leave the state for a weekend, just head 100 miles north to Missouri, and you’ll be in amazing whitetail and turkey country.
Waterfowl-loving academics take note: sashay southeast a few hours and you’ll be navel-deep in the flooded timber of Stuttgart, Arkansas—the proclaimed duck hunting capital of the free world.” –Clay Newcomb
Boise State University – Boise, ID
“Boise State is located in southwest Idaho, and while the surrounding metropolitan area is getting bigger, the school still remains one of the best choices for students who love to hunt. The campus sits just a stone’s throw from awesome big game hunting, and the mighty Snake River offers world class waterfowl hunting (no boat needed).
If you like upland birds, Boise State is damn hard to beat. Just off campus you can find grouse, pheasant, Hungarian partridge, mourning dove, California quail, and my personal favorite, chukar. With a plethora of species and public lands, southern Idaho won’t disappoint.” –Joe Ferronato
Appalachian State University – Boone, NC
“Boone, NC is named after Daniel Boone, one of America’s most famed hunters, which should tell you something about the outdoor opportunities here. Although Appalachian State has a strong contingent of granola eating, patchouli wearing students, don’t let that deter you. I’d contend that you’ll find less competition in the woods than most colleges with a stronger hunting culture.
For big game, North Carolina has some of the biggest black bears in the country. They also have good numbers of wild hogs, turkeys, and whitetails. On the small game front, cottontails and squirrels are widely available—and when it comes to waterfowl, there’s awesome hunting on the many nearby lakes and rivers.” –Brody Henderson
Kansas State University – Manhattan, KS
“Located in the scenic Flint Hills, Kansas State is a major agriculture school with a growing emphasis on wildlife degrees. Specifically, the school now has a wildlife outdoor enterprise management program, catering to students looking to enter the guiding and outfitting industry.
During fall semester, you’ll be close to some phenomenal waterfowl, upland, and small game hunting, not to mention some of the best whitetail ground in the nation. There’s plenty of space to roam thanks to the state’s walk-in hunting access program, which provides about 1.15 million acres of private land to hunt, more than enough to explore during your time in The Little Apple.” –Morgan Mason