Our team is obviously passionate about new technology for the outdoors. Our group of techies is always checking out new apps and gear. We were excited to meet Joe and hear about what he's up to with Hunt'n Buddy. He has some innovative technology behind his app, and we really believe in his SNS feature (read on to see what we're talking about).
Joe's a great dude. It was really touching to hear the story behind this app. Make sure you read to the end and sign up for the giveaway within the app.
GoWild: Joe, let’s get things straight for all wondering: You’re not that Joe Rogan, right?
Joe: I am not, and you are the very first person to ever ask me that. For my whole adult life, I have been asked that question, “Hey man do you know the Joe Rogan from Fear Factor?” “Oh man, you have the same name as Joe Rogan from the UFC!” As if I didn’t know this, haha. All joking aside, Joe Rogan the actor, comedian, UFC commentator, beast of a hunter and straight up badass human being has been someone I have followed closely throughout my life from his amazing martial arts background to his overall views on life.
GoWild: Joe Rogan, the celebrity podcaster, has done a lot of great things for hunting. And you, the retired-police officer from New York Joe Rogan, are out to change a few things for hunting as well. I want to get to your cool new app, but first, tell me about who you are, and how you got into hunting.
Joe: My first hunting experience was when I was around 14 years old. I spent the weekend with my Aunt Karen and Uncle Larry at their river cottage on the Susquehanna. To a kid raised on Long Island, New York, this was equivalent to the Alaskan Wilderness. After some quick gun safety coaching, I set out with my bb gun. I was so excited that when I saw my first squirrel, I ran up to it—we all know that doesn’t work. After many hours and failed attempts, my determination paid off. I saw a cute, fuzzy, chubby cheeked chipmunk. I got on the ground, and waited until I had a clear shot and fired! I was instantly hooked. As I walked back to the house carrying my harvest (I was acting like I took down a rare wild animal only seen by five people), Uncle Larry came outside and was proud and maybe a bit shocked that I was successful.
I continued to have a love for hunting, fishing and everything outdoors. My dad was a descendant of a strong line of hunters, and we started something that at the time just seemed like a bunch of guys getting together for whitetail season, but when reflecting back it was a priceless time in our lives that will be cherished forever. Every year a group of us mostly family including my dad, uncles and my brother would make the trip to our hunting camp. We traded stories, ate wild game, and put our busy lives aside. One of my most cherished memories was on November 18, 2002, second day of gun season, there was snow on the ground, our whole group strategically placed around a 200 acre piece of property, all chasing whitetail deer.
That morning, a buck came into shooting distance for me. After almost falling out of my stand from shaking so much, I took a deep breath, focused, and took the shot. It happened, I successfully and ethically harvested my first buck. It was a spike, but it very well felt like a Boone and Crockett trophy. The feeling was indescribable, from the way I became one with nature and our ancestors, to providing food for my family in a safe and ethical way. The whole crew left their hunting spots and came to celebrate my first harvest. Uncle Larry taught me the proper techniques of field dressing a deer.
One constant goal and dream of mine that I always shared with my dad and hoped to live it out with him and my brother was to hunt wild bison out west in the sprawling open ranges like our ancestors and the Native Americans did so long ago. But in 2014 our family suffered a loss that was detrimental. My dad, at 54 years old, passed away from cancer. Our family hunting trips, the anticipation of opening day, and the bonds that were shared during these times were over, along with everything else that goes along with losing such an instrumental part of your life. That following November my brother & I got into the woods to hunt because we knew if we didn’t our dad would have been mad.
Joe with his dad and family from a hunting trip.
GoWild: Joe, I’m sorry to hear about your dad but you are honoring him by building a legacy of your own that builds upon what he taught you. You and I have similar upbringings. I got started squirrel hunting in Southeastern Kentucky, and funny enough, I was passionate about chasing fuzzy tails. I still love it. But over time I got into doves, turkeys and whitetails, and I’m still learning how to hunt them well, but I also want to go out west. You want to hunt bison, but for me, the dream hunt is to hunt spring black bears or elk during the rut. What is it about us eastern hunters and the dream to go out west? Is it the danger in being in grizzly country, the physical challenges or what?
Joe: There are a few reasons for me. First, there is no place in any other part of the United States that you can see for miles, come across herds of wild game in their natural habitat, just as you would have seen hundreds of years ago. You have a rich history of hunting and conservation efforts to protect those wild herds, along with the stories of our ancestors going out for days, weeks and even months on hunts to provide for their families.
The second reason for me is the demands and challenge of an unguided wild hunt. The ability of a person to orchestrate this type of hunt has always been my life goal. This hunt would include a fully packed out rucksack, with all essential camping gear, food water and survival items. The knowhow and ability to quarter and hike out with your harvested animal, and the confidence to know you can complete all this successfully and humanely.
The third and final reason for me is the potential risks. An old saying goes “without any risk there is no reward” and I find this true from personal experience. As a former NYPD police officer, I have taken many risks and have been in various dangerous situations more than I care to mention. These same risks and rewards apply for hunting the wild west. Grizzly bears, treacherous terrain, venomous snakes, charging wild game and just the mere fact that you would be in the middle of nowhere with only yourself to rely on, is the ultimate challenge and adventure to me.
GoWild: You know, so many people forget the basics of hunting safety. But you’ve been trained to the point where gun safety is just muscle memory. I’m curious, do you think your background as a police officer is directly responsible for the creation of your app, Hunt’n Buddy?
Joe: Hunting safety is of utmost importance to me, backpedaling to my hunting camp story, I was always the one in charge of plotting out everyone’s hunting stands, doing the pre-scouting, making sure radios worked and everyone had an exit route that wouldn’t interfere with the other hunters, creating a plan for what to do in the event we didn’t return. So yes, there is many safety risks involved in hunting, and many that go unnoticed until it's too late. Part of the thrill of hunting are the risks and dangers that come along with any involvement with nature and the outdoors.
Between the extensive training I received and overall background in law enforcement combined with my experiences in the outdoors, I feel comfortable saying that the Hunt’n Buddy App will keep the user safe and their families will have a sense of security the next time the user goes into the wild.
Hunt'n Buddy has some very unique map functionality built in.
GoWild: Obviously we have an audience of techies who love to hunt—that’s why they’re on GoWild. So tell them what your app is and why they’d probably like it.
Joe: The Hunt’n Buddy App was created out of necessity. Our users have true flexibility over their individual experience. They can use every function of the app, such as group hunts with live tracking, chat messaging, mapping data, or they can choose to use a single feature, such as the SNS system to let their loved ones know they are safe. This vision is the backbone of how the app was founded. It will tailor to every hunters needs and wants.
GoWild: I’d wager to bet I’ve seen more hunting apps than most hunters, given the nature of what we do at GoWild. There are a lot of bad, dumb and just redundant apps out there. And I suppose because of that experience, I was really expecting Hunt’n Buddy to fall into those lines, simply because so few hunting apps are actually useful in the field. But very quickly I liked Hunt’n Buddy because of how you cater content to help people learn. You have some really cool, patent-pending technology behind this thing, too. But for me, what is making this a holistic, useful app is your combo of content. Why’d you decide to do that?
Joe: The idea was and still is that we wanted a streamline app that can do it all, but doesn’t scream complexity. This was a daunting task, due to the fact that Hunt’n Buddy is packed with technology. As hunters we are always learning and evolving from our actions and outcomes. Hunt’n Buddy was developed to assist in those outcomes in a positive way, giving the user added confidence in the field while keeping the usage time down to focus on the hunt. It was developed to attract all hunters—including those that may be hesitant to use a smartphone while hunting— and also guys like myself, who pretty much use their smartphone as a pillow some nights.
Some of the features include 50 state parcel mapping technology that gives the user exact parcel boundary lines with owner’s name and acreage, the ability to create a group hunt where multiple users who join together, while their location and data is shared in real time. This is one of our flagship features that no other app has, and we feel it is a major breakthrough in hunting app development.
There is an in-hunt chat where users can communicate while still actively engaged in the app, not needing to access their phones messaging service. Map & data sharing is a breakthrough in hunting, giving the users instant access to information they normally would never have time to explain in person. I have personally tested these situations with a good friend who just started hunting later in life. Without knowing the property, we were hunting and I was able to invite him to the group hunt, shared my data, waypoints and parcels with him and direct him which trails to take. This scenario worked out perfectly and I knew his location always ensuring if there were any issues, I could address it immediately. There is also a detailed weather forecast section and a solunar section for moon phases and peak game activity times, these are just a few of the features included in the app.
Hunt'n Buddy's features span far and wide.
GoWild: One feature that I plan to use this year—for all of my hunting trips—is the Hunt’n Buddy SNS. I’m not one for being tracked by technology, but I think you’ve really solved for a need here. Tell me and our readers about this feature.
Joe: This feature is really one of the main reasons I took on this endeavor. As a former police officer, a son, a father, brother, friend and overall responsible adult, I felt the need to create something that can potentially save a life or make a bad situation better. As we all know and already spoke about risks, dangers and the unknown. A saying that was drilled into our heads as a young recruit was “how many 911 calls that you go to will involve a gun?” The answer is every call because police officers have guns. This mentality and thought process stuck with me and it is the truth.
Now as hunters we are also bringing a loaded weapon, be it a firearm, compound bow, a crossbow, nunchucks—just making sure you guys are still paying attention—with us into the field. All good hunters also carry a razor sharp knife for field dressing and processing. Now ask yourselves this. How many of you carry a first aid kit with you? And it's ok, a majority of hunters do not, but why is that? It is because most of the time, nothing happens.
Hunt’n Buddy has you covered during those times something does happen, and you need medical attention. Or maybe you get lost it’s getting dark. Our SNS communicates your latitude and longitude to your chosen emergency contact via text, every hour.
A second and just as important but less serious feature of the SNS is the call blocking technology. Every hunter is on some time constraint, be it the weekend warrior, the outfitter or trophy hunter who travels the globe in search of that perfect hunt. The call blocking feature will disable all incoming calls and texts to your phone other then your SNS contacts, giving them exclusive privilege to reach you during this precious time you allotted for hunting. When this feature is enabled and contacts are selected, if a call comes through you know it’s important. We have many more features to be released in the upcoming months.
GoWild: So you have reminders set in there. Tell me about those and what users can do with them.
Joe: Users can set a reminder within the app that is something you want to remember, but don’t necessarily want to set a calendar event for. If you all are anything like me your phone calendar is your life, and in the past my wife would say “What does ‘Re-scent the mock scrape today’ mean?” Now you have a reminder/event calendar within the app, keeping your valued hunting tasks separate from your life and work assignments. You could also use this for tag reminders to sign up for your draws, reminders to get your hunting license, etc.
GoWild: Joe, this app has so many cool features, we’d really need to do two more Q&As to cover them all, or maybe a three hour, Joe Rogan-celebrity-style podcast, but for today, I think we’ve gotta just tell folks to try Hunt’n Buddy for this year’s hunt. We appreciate the work you’re doing to get more people into the woods, and keep them safe once they get there.
Joe: Thanks, that means a lot to us and thank you to everyone who has been on this journey from the beginning, it started off as a dream and is now a pretty cool reality. There has been already so much positive feedback from users and hunters, and that was our goal. We are in this to make the hunting experience better and more enjoyable for everyone. We live in a constantly changing world with technology moving faster than ever before. With Hunt’n Buddy, you can safely and effectively go into the wild knowing that your safety is paramount, and Hunt’n Buddy has your back.
Enter the Hunt’n Buddy Giveaway
We’re proud to partner with Joe and his team to offer you all a sweet prize package. Joe’s offering a Hunt’n Buddy hat, camo rambler, power bank, drink koozies and a $200 Cabela’s gift card (yes, seriously!). All of this is worth $275. And it can be yours, but only if you enter via the GoWild app. Find the Giveaways Trail and answer the question!
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We have partnered with NWTF to promote hunter recruitment with a sweepstakes valued at over $4,500. One winner will receive an all-expense-paid turkey hunting trip for two in Wisconsin, where they will enjoy the full experience of chasing that morning thunder! The great team from Wolf Pack Adventures will guide the adventure.
National Wild Turkey Federation Partners with GoWild to Boost Hunting Heritage Programs, Conservation Efforts & More!
NWTF is one of the more storied organizations in conservation and hunting. They are expanding upon their efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters in a big way in 2019. The partnership with GoWild adds a high-tech firepower to that mission. Together, we'll be launching two sweepstakes, highlighting mentorship efforts in the app and even working with other partners like Raise ‘Em Outdoors and Outdoors Access. Read the details to find out how you can be a part of the initiative.