The June/July 2009 issue of Outdoor Life magazine featured a story on the 200 best towns in the U.S. for a sportsman to live.   This ranking was based on several different factors including: affordable housing, low unemployment, decent schools, as well as close proximity to great hunting and fishing opportunities.  There were only four states (Colorado, Montana, Idaho and Florida) that had more towns making the list than Minnesota.   Only Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts and West Virginia failed to make a showing with even a single mention on the list.

Here's the breakdown of which Minnesota cities made the 2009 OL list (with the respective ranking out of 200 shown in parenthesis):
  • Rochester (9th)
  • Roseau (tied for 20th)
  • Bemidji (31st)
  • Red Wing (79th)
  • Duluth (92nd)
  • Alexandria (107th)
  • Marshall (167th)
Granted, these seven Minnesota cities listed above are great sportsman locations and I certainly do not dispute the honor deservingly bestowed on each by the outdoor magazine.   Still, this article made me ponder just how I might pick a personal top 10 list of great Minnesota sportsman towns.   Keep in mind I'm not basing this list on the same objective criteria as the OL list above, instead, I'm basing my list entirely on what I perceive to be a great Minnesota location for the hunter/fisherman to call home.   Here's my list:
  1. Walker
  2. Detroit Lakes
  3. Grand Rapids
  4. Ely
  5. Worthington
  6. Battle Lake
  7. Forest Lake
  8. Nicollet
  9. International Falls
  10. Lanesboro
So, there you have it…both Outdoor Life's top picks as well as my personal picks for the best sportsman cities found in Minnesota.   Now it's your turn.   Tell us what town hasn't been mentioned that you feel deserves some special recognition.   Or, give us your own top 10 listing of Minnesota towns where you feel it would be ideal to reside as a Minnesota sportsman.

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