Go West Young(ish) Man - Advice Appreciated!

Cheesehead

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Dec 6, 2017
Messages
49
Hi HT-ers,

A quick overview and intro is in order.

My wife and I work in the Milwaukee/Chicago corridor. We are both low-30s, one kid. We are interested in moving in approx 2 years after I finish school (MBA). We both are tired of living in the bland Midwest. We are both pretty successful professionally.

Wife Preferences (she comes first): My wife hates all things rural/heartland, hates the Midwest, likes being close to the ocean, loves big cities, needs for work purposes to be close to a mid- to large-sized university. Her ideal would be Boston/Vermont/DC/San Francisco, however, these are vetoed by me (limited hunting).

My Preferences: I would like proximity (say, one hour outside) to a mid- to large-size city, love mountains, hate the Midwest, I really want to live with decent elk hunting and mule deer hunting within a 4 hour drive. I am NOT a trophy hunter (prefer numbers over inches). I AM willing to accept the compromise of not having mountains in the backyard in order to have better income potential. Ideally, I'd like a state with a reasonable opportunity for OIL species. My ideal would be Montana or Alaska, however, these are vetoed by her as too rural.

Shared Preferences:
-Mountains/cold weather -- pretty much has to border Canada with few isolated exceptions.
-We both really like wine country

Our "compromise" options are: Live in or near a large city in a Western state / area that has good hunting opportunities. Wife has vetoed ID/MT.

Plan: make quick visits to the following hit list of cities over the next couple years, then decide.
-Portland OR
-Seattle WA
-Denver CO
-Vancouver BC
-Kelowna BC

Thoughts from the HT community on this plan? If I had to guess our eventual destination, it would be Portland or Seattle area. Thoughts on hunting opportunities nearby? Cities to add to the list?

All opinions welcome as long as they are on topic and helpful.

Thanks!
 

Straight Arrow

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Jun 10, 2009
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3,199
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Gallatin Gateway, MT
Don't know how Kelowna made the list as it seems much more "rural" than the other growing mega-metropolis areas, but of those listed that would be my easy pick.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Aurora, CO
Good luck, you can't have it all. AK is the only state that has a "reasonable opportunity for OIL species", if you shift your drive time to within 6-8 hours door to trail-head Denver fits...strap in, grab some Xanax and enjoy the traffic.
 

MTGomer

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Sep 25, 2015
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2,594
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MT —> AZ
Kelowna. Hands down. Don’t even waste your time and money looking elsewhere. If the Canadian immigration system will take you, get to getting.
3 sheep species, moose, goat, elk, Mule deer.
No brainer.
 

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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247
Location
Washington
Without getting into any political debate. I would stay away from wester Washington. I have grown up (Edmonds suburb north of Seattle) and live north of Seattle in the farm community of Snohomish (25mi north of Seattle). Spent my entire life aside from my military service living in Western Washington. Yes it is true that Seattle is a booming city with a potential for making a solid living. That said you will also have to deal with the cost of living, the absolute hard progressive governance and social scene as well as many other not so great things (drugs, homelessness, sanctuary Seattle, crime, bone crushing commuting and more).Enough negativity.........

Now for the plus:
My personal choices within Washington state in order of 1st choice.

Washington is a Fantastic state for hunting "IF you are a resident" (not very friendly for non residence). That being said there are some amazing cities in Eastern Washington that are an outdoorsman's paradise (fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, camping, ATV sports 4 wheeling, skiing, snowmobiling, cycling, mountain biking, water skiing, lake sports and much more) all within short drives. The city of Spokane is one of the nations best cities to live in right now. Amazing whitetail hunting! Idaho is literally 30 min away, Lake Coeur d'Alene Idaho an hour and the St Joe River Valley of Idaho a few hours away.

The City of Wenatchee in eastern Washington is growing more and more and is nestled in one of the most strategic places for outdoor activities (it has a small town feel with all the amenities of a bigger city). Close to some of Washingtons best Elk hunting. Close to a small Bavarian city Leavenworth Washington which is a big vacation destiny, rock climbing, backpacking and some amazing outdoor activities. Wenatchee is a big agricultural hub so you would have to deal with that feel as it continues to grow. Many of the major corporate big wigs are moving many of their operations into eastern Washington and Wenatchee is one of those cities.

Ellensburg Washington is another growing city just east of the mountains literally 2 hours from Seattle. A college town and has that kind of feel during the school months otherwise it's an amazing place for anglers, fisherman, hiking, skiing and the like. Ellensburg is an arm of Seattle in eastern Washington and many Seattleites have vacation homes nearby in the small town of Cle Ellum Washington. Both are growing cities but not quite big enough for me personally but on that note I have spent half a lifetime in the mountains north of Ellensburg chasing elk. One of the nations biggest rodeos comes to Ellensburg every year.

Yakima Washington is a bustling large city in Eastern Washington 3.5hrs from Seattle, has all the amenities of a big city. It's proximity to the states largest Elk herd is legendary in Washington, tons of outdoor activities. I have also spent half a lifetime chasing Elk and Mule deer in the Cascade mountains west of Yakima. The biggest problem with Yakima is that it is a military town, agriculture is very big and it seems well behind in my choices of a place to raise kids (my personal opinion don't flame me if your a Yakimonian):eek:)

Wrapping this up with a little something about me. I am an early retiree and can't wait till my wife retires (not soon enough for me), My son is currently in college here in Western Washington and living at home but as soon as I can become a puff of smoke we are headed to a suburb of Spokane or the Lake Coeur d'Alene Idaho area. Makes me giddy to think about it...

Hopefully this gives you a "little" info about Seattle/Washington. Good luck in your search
 
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nrpate05

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Jan 5, 2015
Messages
602
Denver on the face always seems like the right pick until you're there. Traffic is a bear and housing prices are always going up. Colorado as a whole is a great state with lots of critters running around and good opportunity. Grand Junction is apparently on the rise and there is good wine country there. It's a little hot and dusty, but there is a lot of public land to explore. Food for thought. Good luck in your search!
 

VAspeedgoat

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Sep 4, 2014
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Location
Timberville, VA
Just to be a contrarian. I wouldn't completely rule out Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. It's gonna be deer with a faint chance at a moose unless you go to Canada. But there's grouse, hares and what I personally think is the best fishing in the country. Not to mention wilderness areas that rival the west. I'd take a visit. Plenty of nice college University options that offer hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunity within 30 minutes. All within an hour or two to the ocean or mountains.

Take a trip and do Mt Washington, Bar harbor, and the Green mountains. You can do it on a long weekend. If I could move the farm it would be one of about two places I'd consider. Also not growing uncontrollably like a Denver like area
 

wllm1313

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Aurora, CO
Just to be a contrarian. I wouldn't completely rule out Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. It's gonna be deer with a faint chance at a moose unless you go to Canada. But there's grouse, hares and what I personally think is the best fishing in the country. Not to mention wilderness areas that rival the west. I'd take a visit. Plenty of nice college University options that offer hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunity within 30 minutes. All within an hour or two to the ocean or mountains.

Take a trip and do Mt Washington, Bar harbor, and the Green mountains. You can do it on a long weekend. If I could move the farm it would be one of about two places I'd consider. Also not growing uncontrollably like a Denver like area

I live in Denver, but went to school in VT... given your requirements I would definitely put Burlington on the list.
 

pgidley

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Dec 4, 2018
Messages
96
Location
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
As a Canadian, if you can immigrate here, by all means do it. Slightly higher taxes and pay in Canadian dollars can be a bit of a hit, but when you factor in our social systems, universal healthcare and overall quality of life, I would take it any day. But maybe I'm just a patriot, although I do scour Montana and Colorado occasionally for good paying jobs in my field.

Vancouver is very expensive for housing, the highest in Canada, and Kelowna isn't far behind. A lot of friends from Ontario have moved out there, and they all love it.

PG
 

PrairieHunter

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May 17, 2018
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Laramie, WY
Millions of residents competing for tags does not = good hunting opportunities. That's why so many people from Utah and Colorado hunt Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, etc..

People don't normally move to Seattle, Boston, Portland etc for the hunting opportunities.

It sounds like you are both more focused on things other than hunting.
 

BigHornRam

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"Land of Giant Rams"
Don't rule out Coeur d Alene Idaho. Its minutes from Spokane and being a resident would give you the best OIL opportunities in the country. Yakima valley is a great wine area and a couple hours away. Ocean is a short day drive. Closest universities of size would be Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Washington State, or Idaho.
 

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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247
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Washington
Don't rule out Coeur d Alene Idaho. Its minutes from Spokane and being a resident would give you the best OIL opportunities in the country. Yakima valley is a great wine area and a couple hours away. Ocean is a short day drive. Closest universities of size would be Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Washington State, or Idaho.
I 2nd that motion!!!!!
 

wllm1313

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Aurora, CO
Once In a Lifetime. Pretty much any tag were the best draw odds that can be achieved are around 1/50 or where you need in excess of 25 preference points.
 

1_pointer

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16,918
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Indiana
Once In a Lifetime. Pretty much any tag were the best draw odds that can be achieved are around 1/50 or where you need in excess of 25 preference points.
And yet I have a pard that drew 4 in a 7 year span in one state. Granted he was a resident, but dang is he lucky.
 

westbranch

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Sep 11, 2017
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ID Panhandle
I also think Spokane could be a good fit since it sounds like your wife might prefer to be close to downtown Spokane vs. Coeur d'Alene. I have met a decent number of people in late 20s to early 30s through work that really like the "city" atmosphere of Spokane. Some spent time in Portland and Seattle and say quality of life is much better in Spokane. Of course the whole area is growing fast so you'll hear a ton of complaints from locals.

My wife and I moved to Coeur d'Alene from farm country in the midwest and much prefer a smaller town so even Coeur d'Alene is a little big for us. But we have very few complaints about living here.
 

Nemont

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Oct 22, 2003
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4,172
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Glasgow, Montana
CDA is some place the my wife and I can see ourselves moving to. We have a daughter in Spokane and another who will most likely settle in Kettle Falls, soon. When we travel to Spokane I always get to Wallace and think, "This is kind of a shithole" but then pop over the hill to CDA and think, "this is perfect".

Your mileage may vary.

Nemont
 
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