A groundbreaking program at Kansas State University is training students for outdoor careers.
Kansas State University’s Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management (WOEM) program is the first and only Bachelor of Science four-year degree program in the United States that trains students to become hunting and fishing outfitters, gun and hunting club managers, resort managers, and provides training for careers in other outdoor adventure-related pursuits. Combining wildlife science with business and management, the WOEM program is a separate department within Kansas State’s College of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Forestry & Recreation Resources.
Located in Manhattan, Kansas, “K-State” is one of the nation’s most respected universities for wildlife biology and related studies. While wildlife and fisheries management is part of the course of study, the WOEM degree diverges in that it includes business, hospitality management, and training in outdoor skills. Under the direction of Dr. Thomas Warner and Dr. Peg McBee, experienced educators and outdoorspeople, the program was instituted in 2009. So far all graduates have found jobs in the outdoor industry, which speaks volumes about the degree and the dedicated young people pursuing it.
I’ve been fortunate to have spoken to the students in Manhattan, and this fall four students—three men and one woman—joined us at Timber Trails Ranch in southeastern Kansas for a few days of whitetail hunting and a series of seminars we arranged for them. These are really impressive young folks, looking forward to careers in the outdoor industry. Make no mistake, this is a serious course of study, with a six-month internship required to attain the degree. For information on this unusual program visit www.hfrr.ksu.edu/woem.
Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management students gathered at Boddington’s Timber Trails ranch in December for some whitetail hunting.