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3/9/2016 7:08 PM
 

Within the next two years I would like to relocate to a western state. So I would really like everyone's honest opinion on what state they believe is a good state to move to. I live in the Midwest and have wanted to move out west for the last few years. Last fall I spent two weeks in Utah and loved it. Having a national forest so close was like a dream and I was really hooked. I would say im just a general outdoors man.  I would like to be in a place where I can hike, camp,fish, and have hunting opportunities. My fiance works with a company she can transfer to any state. So that is an opportunity we want to take advantage of. I've done research but that only goes so far. I would like to know from people who have lived different places and maybe have an opinion of why a certain area might be better than another. 

Sorry if this seems like a broad question because I know a lot of factors can affect where someone would want to live. I loved northern Utah but that is the only western state ive had a chance to spend any time in. We're planning a trip to Idaho this fall to check things out around Boise. Thanks for any input you have

 
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3/10/2016 4:50 PM
 
I don't think which state is quite the right question -- the first question is what size of community you want to live in (and why), and what size of community you *have* to live in to ensure you can make a living. Your fiance having the ability to transfer in the same job is good but jobs don't last forever, and presumably you will need a job too. What kind of work you each can do will affect things.

The way I think about the west from biggest to smallest is this --

Metro Areas - You can count them on two hands and discuss pros and cons thusly (Denver, Boise, SLC, Albuquerque etc.)
Towns - You can probably count the ones that aren't just part of a metro area on two hands and two feet (Helena, Grand Junction, Pocotello, Spokane, Flagstaff etc.)
Rural Communities that haven't been discovered - Many of these in lots of great places, but there are some downsides to be aware of before committing
Rural Communities that are now resorts - nice to visit, but no place to live (in my opinion)

My favorite metro areas aren't necessarily in the same states as my favorite towns. Also, what part of a state you live in will give you a vastly different experience. Grand Junction and Denver are theoretically both in Colorado, but they might as well be in different states for all the similarity there is in living between the two.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/10/2016 4:59 PM
 
Incidentally hunting (if you define it as "collecting meat from the field on a regular basis") is much better in the east than the west. Anywhere that there is an overabundance of whitetail is a much easier place to get meat than chasing mule deer or elk in the west. Check season lengths, bag limits, and hunter success rates to get a handle on that. If it's particularly important to you.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/10/2016 6:40 PM
 

Thanks for the response, I see how vague my question is. The two weeks I spent in Utah were in Heber city. I liked the feel of the smaller town while still being able to commute to SLC. I've definitely enjoyed hunting Midwest white tails and would miss it but there are just so few acres of public land in Indiana. I don't want to have to drive three hours to go on a hike where I don't see someone. I was so blown away in what I saw in my short time in Utah. I knew I had to live somewhere close to a national forest or some form of public ground. I guess the best course is to just see what job options come up try an area out. 

 
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3/11/2016 6:46 PM
 
evanhill wrote:
Incidentally hunting (if you define it as "collecting meat from the field on a regular basis") is much better in the east than the west. Anywhere that there is an overabundance of whitetail is a much easier place to get meat than chasing mule deer or elk in the west.

 

That is the difference between 45in of rain each year compared to 15in.  Also, if you're used to forests (real ones) the west doesn't have many.  Ten trees per acre isn't a forest, that is what we call a "cleared area" back east.  Northern Idaho or western MT are the only places out west I've seen that really make me want to move there.  Trees, gotta have trees.  I can burn 'em to stay warm, build a place to live from them.  I'd go crazy in eastern WY, outside of a the few mountainous areas there.

 

I've also got this thing against deserts as well.

 
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3/11/2016 8:27 PM
 
Does your area of interest include Oregon and Washington? If so, I can put some thoughts together.
 
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3/16/2016 2:44 PM
 
Nothing I'm about to say is rocket science. It's pretty common sense stuff, honestly, but I've been in exactly your boots bmichael and I've had this very conversation with Evan (among others).

We are heading to Sheridan, Wy one of these days. I got a job with a company doing some contract work for the government so I'm stuck waiting for security clearances and crap to get done. It's been a strange road getting to this point so I'll list out some of the things that brought us to "now".

The desire to move west. For the mrs and I, it was a desire to live near enough to "the mountains" to allow us to get out and explore like we want. For us the 'where' part of things stayed flexible because 1) landing a job long distance is tough unless you're in possession of skills that can't be found and 2) while we had visited, it's never the same as living there so we went in knowing that the first landing spot might not be the last landing spot. What it will provide, though, is the ability to get out and see other locations that weren't feasible over a weekend's drive from MO. In the meantime, visit as many places as you can. If nothing else, it will give you a chance to find places that make you say no immediately. Then you can forget about them. :)

Actually finding a job. I have sent out enough resumes to wear out a printer but as I said earlier... actually getting a job is rough when you live outside the area in which you've applied. I've had interviews that seemed to be an exercise in "lets talk to this guy so we can say we did" and interviews that seemed promising and didn't pan out. When one finally does result in an offer you better be ready to jump which brings me to:

Where exactly? We figured out the general "where" we would like to be. We are small town people and have no desire to jump from 2000 people to millions so for us that immediately ruled out Denver and it's metroplex (with the exclusion of Fort Collins) and Salt Lake City and put Boise in the "probably not but we could entertain the idea" category. Then I limited my job hunting to locations that we believed worked for us. Then we've visited as much as we could and kept notes with each other comparing all the places we saw. If you have a career or job skills that you have fleshed out over the years, find the locations that provide the highest number of opportunities yet still fall into your acceptable areas. I'm an IT guy and ruling out the large metro areas made my search many many times harder than it needed to be but in the end perseverance won out and I was offered this gig. it's a contract job for up to 3 years and we believed it would be nice because it give us up to 3 years to decide if we want to stay in Sheridan or try life elsewhere. If we're staying I start looking for that permanent job that lets us do that and if we're going... well, we know the drill by now. LOL

Hunt every available website/resource you can find for a job. One thing I learned in WY is that there are a lot of government jobs. City/County/State stuff that here at home would be bid out to some outsourcing firm is handled by themselves because there aren't a lot of options. The bigger the place the more varied the jobs they might be posting. Also, give thought to what you do (or want to do) and where that activity is happening. For instance, you might be a head chef at a big fancy restaurant in Chicago and you'd like to continue doing that. You're probably going to have better luck finding similar opportunities in someplace like Denver or Jackson or Aspen than you would in say, Red Lodge, Mt.


The only other thing I'd add is to stay flexible if you can. While I'm an IT guy by trade, I have zero problems with doing something else. We've looked into purchasing small businesses to seasonal work while hunting for stuff in our sweet spots and ruled out very little before investigating. In the end, I'm still doing IT work but my wife will not be staying in her chosen career of publishing, at least in the short term. She is ok with that because the desire to try life there wins out.

I hope this isn't too rambling... I've been interrupted a half dozen times while writing it. lol
 
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3/16/2016 3:27 PM
 

I grew up in Ohio, and have lived in Colorado (6 months), Utah (3 yrs in two stints), Arizona (2 yrs), and Montana (8 yrs and counting).  I'll leave the job discussion aside, other than to say that unless you get lucky there's a fairly direct correlation between how populated an area is, and how probable finding satisfactory employment will be.  This goes to both the size of the city/town in question, and the population of the state/region, generally.  

For example, I currently live in a relatively populous area of Montana, larger than where I lived in Arizona and either place in Utah.  The difference is that in Montana we're two hours from the nearest interstate or the next city, and 5+ hours to the nearest truly large city.  Anywhere in Utah, Colorado, or Arizona is within 5 hours of millions and millions of people, and the woods have a correspondingly different feel.  Traffic getting out around here is simply never an issue, save in the local National Park, and 12 months a year it is easy to go hike/fish/ski/boat/hunt and be all but guaranteed you'll see no one.  That's possible in any western state, but the more populous ones will make you work harder.

If you're a serious hunter that should be a decision point, as resident v. nonresident status makes a big difference.  If you prefer to have lots of opportunity close to home, and/or won't make enough to easily afford multiple out of state licences and tags, living in a place like Montana or Idaho that has lots of over the counter opportunity and long seasons makes sense.  On the other hand, resident status in a place like Utah or Arizona will give you better odds for limited entry, "trophy" opportunities.  To be concrete, a Montana resident can have a buck tag and a bunch of doe tags every year.  A Utah resident might get a deer tag every second or third year, if they play things right.

Other things to think about, in an ideal world, is how much winter and sun you want.  I don't know what non-skiiers do up here Dec-April.

In any case, do it.  Being east of the big bend in the Missouri is lame.

 
New Post
3/19/2016 11:06 AM
 

Take- a- knee I feel the same way about having some trees, and also the desert thing. 

 
New Post
3/21/2016 7:11 PM
 
Wose wrote:
Does your area of interest include Oregon and Washington? If so, I can put some thoughts together.

 

Yes I would be open to Oregon or Washington if you have some thoughts. 

 
New Post
3/21/2016 7:37 PM
 
wilas101 wrote:
Nothing I'm about to say is rocket science. It's pretty common sense stuff, honestly, but I've been in exactly your boots bmichael and I've had this very conversation with Evan (among others).

We are heading to Sheridan, Wy one of these days. I got a job with a company doing some contract work for the government so I'm stuck waiting for security clearances and crap to get done. It's been a strange road getting to this point so I'll list out some of the things that brought us to "now".

The desire to move west. For the mrs and I, it was a desire to live near enough to "the mountains" to allow us to get out and explore like we want. For us the 'where' part of things stayed flexible because 1) landing a job long distance is tough unless you're in possession of skills that can't be found and 2) while we had visited, it's never the same as living there so we went in knowing that the first landing spot might not be the last landing spot. What it will provide, though, is the ability to get out and see other locations that weren't feasible over a weekend's drive from MO. In the meantime, visit as many places as you can. If nothing else, it will give you a chance to find places that make you say no immediately. Then you can forget about them. :)

Actually finding a job. I have sent out enough resumes to wear out a printer but as I said earlier... actually getting a job is rough when you live outside the area in which you've applied. I've had interviews that seemed to be an exercise in "lets talk to this guy so we can say we did" and interviews that seemed promising and didn't pan out. When one finally does result in an offer you better be ready to jump which brings me to:

Where exactly? We figured out the general "where" we would like to be. We are small town people and have no desire to jump from 2000 people to millions so for us that immediately ruled out Denver and it's metroplex (with the exclusion of Fort Collins) and Salt Lake City and put Boise in the "probably not but we could entertain the idea" category. Then I limited my job hunting to locations that we believed worked for us. Then we've visited as much as we could and kept notes with each other comparing all the places we saw. If you have a career or job skills that you have fleshed out over the years, find the locations that provide the highest number of opportunities yet still fall into your acceptable areas. I'm an IT guy and ruling out the large metro areas made my search many many times harder than it needed to be but in the end perseverance won out and I was offered this gig. it's a contract job for up to 3 years and we believed it would be nice because it give us up to 3 years to decide if we want to stay in Sheridan or try life elsewhere. If we're staying I start looking for that permanent job that lets us do that and if we're going... well, we know the drill by now. LOL

Hunt every available website/resource you can find for a job. One thing I learned in WY is that there are a lot of government jobs. City/County/State stuff that here at home would be bid out to some outsourcing firm is handled by themselves because there aren't a lot of options. The bigger the place the more varied the jobs they might be posting. Also, give thought to what you do (or want to do) and where that activity is happening. For instance, you might be a head chef at a big fancy restaurant in Chicago and you'd like to continue doing that. You're probably going to have better luck finding similar opportunities in someplace like Denver or Jackson or Aspen than you would in say, Red Lodge, Mt.


The only other thing I'd add is to stay flexible if you can. While I'm an IT guy by trade, I have zero problems with doing something else. We've looked into purchasing small businesses to seasonal work while hunting for stuff in our sweet spots and ruled out very little before investigating. In the end, I'm still doing IT work but my wife will not be staying in her chosen career of publishing, at least in the short term. She is ok with that because the desire to try life there wins out.

I hope this isn't too rambling... I've been interrupted a half dozen times while writing it. lol



Thanks wilas101 that's a lot of good advice
 
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4/1/2016 8:58 AM
 
bmichael wrote:

Thanks wilas101 that's a lot of good advice

 

No worries man.  I hope it might help in some small way.

 
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