Now in its fifth year, our annual “Best Towns for Sportsmen” feature is an OL institution. Readers love to argue the merits of their burgs based on our rankings; local newspapers crow about the inclusion of their town; and realtors call to ask for extra copies of the issue.
This year we’re forgetting all the socio-economic data and focusing on what matters most: hunting and fishing. In the next few pages, you’ll find the 35 towns in the U.S. where we would live right now, based solely on the outdoor opportunities there. Some boast bass and deer, others elk and trout or ducks and redfish. Regardless, each of these towns is an outdoors mecca in its own right, and from sea to shining sea, they offer the best hunting and fishing in America.
#1 – Appleton, WI
More than 170 years ago, trappers and fur traders chased the promise of lucrative beaver pelts up the Fox River and settled the town of Appleton. Today, enormous whitetail deer draw outdoorsmen and -women to the Fox River Valley. The Boone and Crockett Club recently anointed Wisconsin the number-one trophy whitetail state in the country, with Cheesehead hunters logging 383 B&C entries in the last five years. In the last three seasons, three different bucks killed within 50 miles of downtown Appleton have either broken or threatened Badger State records. But there’s a lot more to do in Appleton than sit in a treestand.