Where To Live?

Discussion in 'North Dakota Flyway Forum' started by Honker Ace, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Refuge Member

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    Sought advice before here and it served me well when I first began considering a move...This time, it is a little more real as I am looking to advance professionally while also keeping some of what I enjoy about where I currently live (Maine - the hunting, rural feel). When in North Dakota this fall on a pheasant hunting excursion, the state had the look and feel of everything I had expected when thinking about the landscape - small cities scattered amongst seemingly endless open country. In short, I loved it. Also appealing is the 30+ hours closer proximity to a variety of areas with better and longer hunting seasons and slightly better winters than currently enjoyed here certainly helped.

    Putting aside all the non-essential reasons now, the realist in me also knows more goes into it. Livability, ability to make a living, housing/rentals, all factor in. Right now I am career-driven with no intent to settle down for the short-term future (at least 2-3 years) and plan to keep that, especially since this move would be a change requiring some acclimation. With that in mind, I'd like to hear some of the pros/cons of living in Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks both from a "realist" perspective (the livability, housing market, work) in addition to the "hunter" perspective. Obviously my final location would depend on a job offer and where that would take me, but there are prospective employers I am reaching out to that are located in each of these cities and would like some background before travelling out and exploring them myself to avoid wasting time. (I have been to Minot, although only for a day and on our trip never directly went into Bismarck, just skirted edges of it.)

    During my job search have also been digging around into the real estate markets, right now though it looks like a two-year commitment to this at minimum, and as much as I hate renting it may be the better option during this time as I don't want to lock myself in and be unable to chance course if it turns out I truly don't enjoy it. If I stay after that time, then a better understanding of the area and what I am looking for and could afford would lead to a much safer purchase.

    Help is appreciated gang, thanks in advance to anyone who does. If you feel more comfortable with PM'ing me, then feel free to do so.
     
  2. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

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    I would choose Bismarck.....waterfowl hunting north and east. Pheasant hunting south and west. Good fishing on the Missouri River. Good schools.
     
  3. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Refuge Member

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    One question I had regarding Bismarck was land access...Just on the outskirts it seemed a fair amount was posted (as in, a lot more than we saw in other areas) but being further west and away from the Devil's Lake area, I wondered how much pressure the area got and whether there was a heavy guide presence. Being after pheasant, we never worried much and hunted mostly PLOTS land while there along with the occasional cattail and hedge rows. We did get onto one farm that was posted with a simple phone call, likely would have just driven by except for the four roosters standing off the road edge. That was a fun morning!

    EDIT - I should add, it's not talking to farmers and gaining permissions that worries me, being from country surrounded by farms and having worked on one between finishing college and starting my current job, getting along with them is pretty easy. More worried about leases, which is something that I do not have to worry about at all now and have no experience hunting in areas where there are large amounts of leased land where access can be limited...More than anything, guess the main worry is ending up in an area where travelling fifty miles just to get on land to hunt would occur.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  4. zoops

    zoops Refuge Member

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    I don't think I've ever heard someone say that nicer winters would be a reason to move to ND! Unless they're from Siberia haha.
    I grew up in Grand Forks and moved to Bismarck after college and have spent some time for work in Minot, although have not lived there. I'd say GF is a distant third when it comes to outdoor opportunities. I'd probably rank Fargo ahead of it even. In GF you're 50-60 miles just from getting into pothole country and that's the heavily pressured DL region. Very little fishing within an hour of GF unless you fish the Red River. And no pheasants. But it is a fun college town. I've never been real impressed with the city of Minot nor have friends that have spent time there. Traffic was bad for a city that size and services were poor, although most of my time spent there was during the oil boom. Just seems poorly set up and not much to do, although I'm sure others would argue that. Pretty good fishing opportunities within a hour and good bird hunting. Bismarck would probably be the choice for nicest city and best outdoor opps. Can be on the river in minutes and lots of fishing and hunting of all kinds within a hour.
    Most of the state is pretty well posted nowadays so I don't think you could use that criteria much. If you try to develop relationships you'll probably find land no matter where you go. Some leasing in certain areas but not terribly restrictive yet.
    I'm not real in tune with the real estate market but I believe it's more of a buyer's market than it was 2-3 years ago at the height of the oil boom.
     
  5. Dean Nelson

    Dean Nelson Moderator Goose Hunting/North Dakota Moderator

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    Bismarck wins this debate every time....it actually normally wins even if SD is included. For instance my buddy was out this morning hunting snows then hit a nearby lake for some ice fishing and picked up a two man limit of perch and then went home took a nap and was out this evening in his boat looking for walleyes. You won't run into very much leased ground but you do here the I have family coming line allot. The thing with bismarck is it has the full gamut of what this state has both hunting and fishing within about a 60 miles range. So a guy can chase mule deer in the morning and Greenheads in the afternoon or just about any other combination we have.

    Minots not bad but it's a bit of a dirty town and has definitely picked up a bit of a seedy side in the oil boom. It's got good waterfowling with decent fishing but your generally looking at a 50 miles drive down to Sakakawea and if she's in one of her off cycles like it seems to run about 10 year average it gets far more difficult where as bismarck has oahe to the south to go along with Sakakawea to the north and for whatever reason they tend to offset each other's down years.

    Grandforks sucks and I will guarantee you it's weather is worse than anything you experienced and Main. That place is flat as a board cold as hell and it's never not windy and smells like raw French fries or dog poop depending on the wind direction! Bismarck on any given day in the winter will be around 10 degrees warmer and bowman will often be 10 degrees warmer then bismarck so the climate is fairly different from the NE part of the state compared to the south west. Like zoop I once lived there and like he said your looking at 50 miles to hunt ducks other the a little management area just next to town that's way over hunted. You are also looking at 100 miles or more for any decent pheasant ground unless we've had like seven really light Winters in a row which we have not. Fishing again like was said outside of the river (which is the number one channel cat body of water in north America mind you) your looking at 60 miles or more.

    The one thing bismarck dominates over any of the other bigger cities in this state is the sheer volume of birds we get along the river. Because of this week get a longer season which is only a few days shorter the the Pacific flyway and about a month and a half longer then allowed out east. Hell this is right smack dab in town a couple years ago in January and this not rare it's the norm.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Honker Ace

    Honker Ace Refuge Member

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    Was hoping to hear from you on this Dean and you certainly didn't disappoint. Between what you, zoops and Ken already have contributed it seems like my decision (assuming it works out as hoped) is becoming easier. I wondered just how different the climates were between Bismarck and GF, having a longer waterfowl season is certainly appealing...As are snows. Got my first test of the lessers when we went to Sask as part of the trip this fall and got hooked, hoping if/when I go out to be able to get a good set-up started for them beyond the little I have now and take full advantage of those opportunities as well as the proximity to Sask/Alberta. Realizing my first fall there may have a learning curve and may miss out on some opportunities but will give me a chance to settle in and meet landowners, and being able to go out and chase pheasants around will take the sting off as well.
     
  7. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

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    AS I said....go for Bismarck. I live just outside of Fargo and If you are a fisherman.....I would pick Fargo. 25 miles to good fishing in Minnesota.Bismarck has walleyes. But Fargo has all kinds of fishing close by. For hunting I would go with Bismarck. I have a daughter who lives in Minot. My son in law has excellent waterfowl hunting. Especially late season. And Sak is close. But you might also consider Minot because it is close to Canada. Hands down better waterfowl with less hunting pressure than ND. Especially ducks and snow geese.
     
  8. Dean Nelson

    Dean Nelson Moderator Goose Hunting/North Dakota Moderator

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    Ken is forgetting that most of ND's best trout lakes are within 40 miles of Bismarck as are all the best bass lakes with both large and small mouth bass including the only lake that never freezes. Now throw in pretty much all of north Dakotas muskie lakes and trophy pike waters out on the big lakes as well as add in salmon and the variety goes up a ton. Now MN clearly has more choices but also allot more pressure. Now throw in the tail race and the fact it holds many of the state record fish especially trout and the river below through bismarck that has more damn channel cats then just about anywhere I've ever seen and literally no one fishes for them and they have no limit. Plus the river has all the weird fish that a guy catches all the time like paddle fish and sturgeon both of which are protected but still fun to catch. Everything in red are state records that were caught on bodies of water that are withing 60 miles of town.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

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    Depends on what you are fishing. Yes there are Different options available out of Bismarck.But a whole lot more lakes around Detroit Lakes. I can have a cabin on a lake there. Where can you do that in Bismarck?.....Given that, I would still rather be able to fish around Detroit Lakes than out of Bismarck.

    But for the obvious hunting available.....I would choose Bismarck number 1. If it is fishing.....I would choose Fargo. Plus Fargo has a lot more OTHER things...... like for instance the UND hockey team is playing here against Boston Univ. in Division 1 right now. Other things including NDSU and UND sports. Especially football....Bismarck isn't even in the same ballpark. Concerts and other social events.....Fargo all the way.
     
  10. Dean Nelson

    Dean Nelson Moderator Goose Hunting/North Dakota Moderator

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    Cabins you would be looking at having one on Audubon, Long, Sibley, Isabel, Brush, Oahe, Sakakawea and Tschida and thats just the ones I can name off the top of my head and I'm sure I missed a few. I spent many a summer day over in DL country and will take our fishing over here were everyone is walleye nuts so I can go pound on the trout and bass and crappies and have most of the lakes to myself.

    I also can go fishing for walleyes right now so do tell where in MN you can do that!:dv
     

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