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Choosing Wildlife Enterprise Management: The Natural Choice

By October 13, 2023October 26th, 2023No Comments

Meet Travis Black, College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment alumnus and guide at Stuart Ranch Outfitters. 

Travis Black during a waterfowl hunt
Travis Black during the 2022-2023 waterfowl season with Stuart Ranch Outfitters. Photographic services by Aaron Davis.

Travis Black, an Auburn University alumnus, took his passion for the outdoors to the next level after earning his bachelor’s degree in wildlife enterprise management (WLEM) in 2023. He shares his inspiring journey from academia to a dynamic career in waterfowl habitat management, igniting a deep-seated dedication to conservation and the natural world. 

Wetland Restoration and Waterfowl Hunts 

Travis Black during a waterfowl hunt
Travis Black during a waterfowl hunt at sunset.

Travis serves as a guide for Stuart Ranch Outfitters in Waurika, Oklahoma, where he guides duck and goose hunts with clients. His daily routine involves scouting for waterfowl, hunting alongside clients and ensuring their satisfaction in the field and at the lodge. This unique experience allows him to share his deep passion for outdoor pursuits with others, creating lasting memories and fostering a connection to nature. Additionally, Travis enjoys the opportunity to actively participate in habitat manipulation, contributing to the enhancement and preservation of these vital ecosystems.

A Passion for Guiding and Sharing Outdoor Experiences

Travis Black during a waterfowl huntTravis Black during a waterfowl hunt, surrounded by geese. 

Guiding hunts and sharing his lifelong passion for hunting are aspirations fulfilled. The opportunity to create fond memories for clients and introduce them to waterfowl hunting is something he takes great pride in.

“… I am a part of experiences that will last a lifetime for our clients. I have been obsessed with hunting waterfowl for a long time and the opportunity to share this passion of mine with others is nothing short of incredible.” 

The Natural Choice 

Travis Black using a duck call whistle during a waterfowl huntTravis Black utilizing a call whistle during a waterfowl hunt. 

Reflecting on his experience at Auburn University’s CFWE, Travis acknowledged the value of his WLEM degree. The program gave him a comprehensive understanding of outfitting operations, encompassing hospitality, business and land management. Hands-on experiences, including visits to renowned outfitters, enriched his learning and prepared him for his career.

“The most valuable part of my experience at Auburn was the relationships and connections I built with both my peers and my professors.” 

His lifelong passion for the outdoors influenced his decision to pursue a degree in WLEM. Growing up, he discovered his love for hunting and a fascination with understanding game species’ behavior. This passion drove him to pursue a career that allowed him to leverage his outdoor interests, making WLEM a natural choice. 

Exploring Auburn  

Travis urges students to venture beyond campus and discover the lively area surrounding Auburn. He recommends exploring scenic, nature-based locations such as Kreher Preserve and Nature Center or Chewacla State Park. 

Kreher Preserve and Nature Center fall tress
Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, an outreach program of the CFWE. 

“I think it is important to take a break to go explore the Auburn area. You just have to get out and explore!”

Travis Black’s journey from CFWE to his versatile career demonstrates the significance of pursuing one’s passion and fostering valuable connections. His story provides an example for current and prospective students, highlighting the opportunities the WLEM program can offer in outdoor conservation and management. 

Auburn University’s Wildlife Enterprise Management program, one of only two such programs in the United States, offers a distinctive cross-disciplinary degree blending wildlife management, hospitality services and business management. Graduates are well-prepared for careers at hunting and fishing lodges, ranches, corporate retreat facilities and similar establishments worldwide. The program combines classroom instruction with real-world internships, ensuring graduates possess the necessary skills and experience to access abundant outdoor conservation and management career opportunities.

Learn more about CFWE’s Wildlife Enterprise Management degree 

Click here to learn more about the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment’s Wildlife Enterprise Management degree. 

Request a time to meet with an advisor or book a tour at: 

Path to the Plains 

Path to the Plains (P2P) is a concurrent enrollment program offered by Auburn University and partner community college institutions designed for students who want to transfer to Auburn to finish their bachelor’s degrees once they have completed their associate degrees. 

The Path to the Plains program provides academic support to students throughout their time at the partner institution and helps prepare them for a successful transition to Auburn. 

For more information on Path to the Plains, visit 

Early Admissions Deadline is Dec. 1 and Final Admissions is Feb. 1.  

Find your path to the Plains today! 

(Written by Allison Killingsworth) 

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