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Valley City - An Outdoor Enthusiast's Paradise

Students hunting mallards
Birding in ND
Sandhill crane and cackling goose hunting
North Dakota is great for ice fishing
Student filled their first tundra swan tag
Dr. Anderson leads a nature hike
Many students enjoy pheasant hunting
Sharp-tailed grouse hunt
VCSU is located in the beautiful Sheyenne River Valley, which is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. There are tremendous hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational opportunities within minutes of campus!

Hunting and Fishing

Nonresident full-time state college students living in North Dakota and attending a North Dakota institution of higher learning may qualify to purchase nonlottery resident licenses at resident costs! This is a great benefit for nonresident students wanting to hunt and fish while going to VCSU.


Valley City is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region, which often produces over 50% of North America’s ducks. As a result, we have some of the best waterfowl hunting in the country. You will find amazing opportunities to hunt ducks, geese, tundra swans, and sandhill cranes near Valley City.

Upland Game

There are lots of upland game hunting opportunities in the Valley City area. You will find sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge, and wild turkey. Pheasants are abundant to the south of Valley City, and the season extends all the way until the first week of January.

Big Game

The most common big game animal in the area is white-tailed deer, although we do have the occasional moose. Many students not only enjoy archery shooting, but also archery hunting for deer in the Valley City area.

Other game commonly pursued by students in the immediate area are mourning doves, rabbits, and squirrels. Fisheries and wildlife students often hunt and fish together, forming life-long friendships.


There are numerous opportunities for both summer and ice fishing in the Valley City area. The Sheyenne River runs through campus, and there are 2 low-head dams within a couple blocks of campus that concentrate fish. Students can easily walk from their dorm rooms to go fishing! Students catch northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye primarily in the Sheyenne. We also have multiple lakes within 30 minutes of Valley City. Listed are just a few lakes and what they are known for:

  • Lake Ashtabula Reservoir – yellow perch, northern pike, walleye, white bass, and crappie
  • Moon Lake – rainbow trout, yellow perch, and walleye
  • Clausen Springs – largemouth bass, and yellow perch
  • Hobart Lake Refuge – Only ice fished, and often great for yellow perch
Camping, Hiking, and other Outdoor Activities

Many of our students enjoy other outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, canoeing, photography, and birding.

There are multiple campgrounds within an hour of Valley City. They include campgrounds around Lake Ashtabula, Clausen Springs, Little Yellowstone, and Fort Ransom State Park.

For those students that enjoy hiking, you will be pleased that the North Country Trail runs right through the VCSU campus. The North Country Trail is a wandering trail that is 4600 miles long that runs through America’s rugged northern heartlands, stretching across seven states.

The Department has canoes that students can check out to use on the scenic Sheyenne River. Students can put in on the river at multiple locations north of Valley City and canoe into Valley City.

We have a number of students that really enjoy nature photography and/or birding. No matter your interest, there are always outdoor activities awaiting you near Valley City.