Powderhook, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based outdoors-technology startup, rolled out its new iPhone and Android app last week, which seeks to provide hyper-local advice for hunters and anglers. The free application offers information about local hunting and fishing venues, as well as outdoor events, throughout the country, with a crowd-sourced model that aims to connect outdoor enthusiasts who have questions for the community about such things as the best places to hunt and fish or technical aspects of various outdoor sports, for example. Community questions go out to the nearest 20 local Powderhook users to help connect with folks who may be out in the field or most familiar with local conditions, regulations and land usage.
The new app represents a strategic pivot for the Powderhook team, which is pursuing its “Access for All” mission by creating an easy-to-use online marketplace to match outdoor enthusiasts with local businesses, resources and service providers.
“We tried hard to open access to private land, but simply couldn’t make the economics work between buyers and sellers of private access,” said Powderhook founder Eric Dinger in a release announcing the company’s new app. “What we learned along the way is people really need local answers, which is why we go to the tackle shop when we travel to fish. We found this to be especially true with new people.”
Like similar efforts with hyper-local travel community and advice apps, the promise of tapping into a well of local knowledge is alluring but also relies on incentivizing contributors not only to participate but also stay actively engaged. Powderhook’s hope is that businesses and brands will recognize the value of connecting with prospective new customers at the key point when they’re needing trustworthy advice about getting out into the outdoors. Early adopters from the non-profit world include organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Delta Waterfowl and Pass it On – Outdoor Mentors, as well as major brands including Yamaha, Cabela’s and Bohning Archery. Users, meanwhile, can earn points—aka, “cred”—for their contributions, which can be redeemed for offers from various Powderhook partners.
The application itself promises an intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate between the community tools and features—“chatter”—and more static geo-based information such as public hunting lands and heat maps showing local wildlife activity. Some of the transitions in the app are a little slow, although we’re sure these early launch bugs will be ironed out in future versions. And we’re hoping that more and more hunters and anglers will discover the app to help grow the knowledge base and get future enthusiasts out into the field!