When Jeff Hughes worked at the NWTF as a graphic artist several years ago, I thought of him as more of a goofball than a geek. He’s silly, funny and creative … basically, a big kid. One you’d find in the gifted classes and art studio, not wheeling around TVs for the AV club.
Before you peg me as a snobby head cheerleader picking on social underlings, let me tell you Jeff is cool and he calls himself a geek … and a nerd … and a dork.
He co-founded a technology company, Hunt Geek, with Chief Enginerd Jim Stolis. They specialize in iPhone and Droid apps for other geeks who love to hunt, shoot and fish.
And just out TODAY is the brand spankin’ new NWTF app, the Turkey Hunting Toolbox, ready to install on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. (A Droid version is in the works.)
The Hunt Geeks and NWTF staff put their noggins together to come up with this complete turkey hunting tool that fits in your pocket. (No, I’m not still talking about Jeff!)
The app features audio clips of common turkey calls to help you hone your yelps, cutts and clucks. Then calling champions like Mark Prudhomme, Matt Van Cise and Chris Parrish, tell you how to put your skills to the task through video tips.
You’ll also find hunting advice from NWTF pros, from patterning your shotgun to making a spur necklace — and everything in between. It even allows you to score your bird in the field.
There are ringtones, state regulations, an up-to-date list of NWTF events. Heck, you can even renew your membership with it. What DOESN’T it do?!?
I caught up with the head Hunt Geeks, Jeff and Jim, to chat about the new app, asking them questions that only a person who hasn’t updated her phone software in six months could:
Karen: What goes in to creating an app? Simple, general terms please…
Geeks: Usually, it starts with an interview with the client. We identify a useful set of features or a message the company is trying to convey, or maybe we look for a gap in existing apps that would be useful to outdoor folks. Then we nail down the features, do visual mock-ups of all the screens you see on your device, then tweak them until the client likes the basic flow/look. After that, we start breaking down the assets and coding each screen to match the mock-ups.
Karen: OK, you’re starting to lose me. What does this app have that’s different than others?
Geeks: It’s a ridiculously useful resource for turkey hunters. The app’s information came directly from the best turkey source around — the NWTF. It’s a definitive resource, including subspecies ID, tips and tricks, audio samples to help you practice calling, video tips and articles from the pros. It’s overloaded with great info, and at $1.99, it’s a steal!
Karen: No doubt, that’s cheaper than downloading two songs from, well, No Doubt! What’s your favorite feature of the app?
Geeks: The turkey sounds and video tips are perfect for improving your success in the field. And the NWTF gets money from every sale; it’s a win-win for hunters and conservation of the resource.
Karen: What do you want NWTF members to know about the app?
Geeks: Only a small portion of the app requires an Internet connection to use, like the state agencies’ regulations.
Karen: Not judging, just curious: How do you find balance between the tech world and the natural world?
Geeks: Our take on technology in the field is that you’re already taking your device with you in the event of an emergency (or to call in sick if the hunting gets good). Why not use it to your advantage? It’s a lot lighter than hauling around reg books, how-to articles and such. When started Hunt Geek by tackling things that nagged us in the field, such as sunrise/sunset tables, stand locations and even rangefinding. We rolled them into killer mobile applications, making an outdoorsperson’s life easier, keeping them legal and getting the most out of their time afield.
Karen: Since the app went live today, I’m sure there are already plans for updates.
Geeks: Apps like this are always evolving. We want to make sure the user gets the best bang for his or her buck. There are several additional features coming in the next few months that will further enhance the app. And user feedback is very important and oftentimes steers a product’s direction. We encourage users to let us know how they are using the product.
Karen: So I should give everyone your home numbers?
Geeks: They can reach us through www.HuntGeek.com. Would love to hear from them.