Wild Game Ranger is a mobile app designed to help users locate, view, photograph, and share where wildlife wander all over the world!
About this project
Millions of people from around the world visit the great outdoors every year. One reason so many people spend time in nature is to view wildlife. In seven of the most popular US national parks for viewing wildlife, there were over 18 million visitors in 2015. According to the 2011 US Census, nearly $55 billion was spent on “wildlife-watching expenditures.” Of that, $400 million was spent on wildlife-watching related media (magazines, apps, books, etc). Many of these visitors do not get a chance to see the wildlife that live in national parks and forests simply because they do not know the best locations or times of day or year to see them. That’s where the Wild Game Ranger mobile app can help!
The Wild Game Ranger Mobile App solves a problem
The Wild Game Ranger mobile app is designed to help users find when and where wildlife wander. This is accomplished by allowing users to capture and post photos of wildlife and have the location of the photos appear on an interactive map. Not only will photo locations appear on a map, but users can view photos in a feed and they can filter both the map and the feed by the date photos were taken, by the species on the photos, and by the location of the photos.
The Wild Game Ranger mobile app is primarily designed for two types of users: the tourist and the wildlife enthusiast. For the tourist, the features of this app solve a problem of not knowing when and where to find wildlife in an area they plan to visit. In other words, they are not familiar enough with a geographic area to know where wildlife wander. Using the app, they can filter by the location they plan to visit, by species, by dates (from recent to historical sightings), and by other app users.
For the Tourist
For example, imagine you, as a tourist, are from Chicago and are planning to visit Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Being from out of town, you aren’t sure about where, when, and how to find the famous North American wildlife that frequent the Teton area. Instead of driving or hiking aimlessly with no luck spotting what you are looking for, you download the Wild Game Ranger app to your mobile device. This app shows you on an interactive map where recent sightings of all forms of wildlife have been made in proximity to your current location. You decide you want to know about a specific species, a grizzly bear, for example. Instead of seeing all sightings of wildlife on the map you filter the results to show you only recent sightings of grizzly bears. The app also informs you of the best times of day and locations that grizzly bears are frequently spotted. Now you are equipped with all you need to find a grizzly bear. Once you spot a grizzly bear and snap a photo, you upload the photo to the Wild Game Ranger app. It is then posted to the map and the feed for other users to see, like, and comment. By posting your photos, you become part of the thousands of wildlife enthusiasts that help so many other users find where wildlife wander.
For the Wildlife Enthusiast
There are many kinds of wildlife enthusiasts who will find the Wild Game Ranger mobile app to be functional and fun to use. For instance, we spend countless hours each year running and hiking in the mountains. Over the years, we have encountered rattlesnakes, bears, and other potentially dangerous animals. We often see other people on the trails who don’t realize the dangers that could be awaiting them as they make their way further down the trail. As a user of the Wild Game Ranger mobile app, we will snap and post photos of potentially dangerous wildlife that we’ve seen to warn other app users. Those users of the app will be able to receive notifications when a potentially dangerous animal has been sighted in close proximity to their location.
Creating Private Groups
There are some wildlife enthusiasts who prefer to share their photos only with family and close friends. The Wild Game Ranger mobile app is designed to allow users to create private groups so they can share select photos only with their group’s members. Members of private groups will still have access to the public feed and also be able to post to a private group and view a private feed and map. Private groups will be available as an in-app purchase for a small fee.
Crowd-sourced wildlife research
Recently in Grand Teton National Park and Snow Canyon State Park (in Utah), there were notices posted by wildlife officials requesting that park visitors email photos taken of specific species to the National Park Service (NPS) and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). In one particular canyon area of the Teton range, the NPS was interested in sightings of mountain goats. In Snow Canyon State Park, Utah DWR was concerned about the population of the native gila monster. In both of these cases, the Wild Game Ranger mobile app could be a valuable resource for wildlife officials as users post photos of these species.
Since the inception of the Wild Game Ranger mobile app, cellular and wi-fi networks have continued to expand their reach, making the Wild Game Ranger mobile app fully functional in a wide range of geographic areas. Another important advancement in technology are the cameras embedded in mobile devices. Though they are much improved compared to their earlier versions, they still aren’t the best cameras for capturing close-up photos of wildlife at great (and safe) distances. However, we have partnered with a company called GlassItUp Optics Imaging. GlassItUp has created a plastic bracket that connects mobile devices to binoculars and telescopes. This allows users to capture quality, close-up photos using the zoom capabilities of their optics. GlassItUp products come in three sizes. For sizing information, click on the image below.
Background of the Wild Game Ranger Founders
As a father and son team, we are very passionate about wildlife and the great outdoors. We have lived in Utah, USA our entire lives and love the outdoors. Colton recently graduated from Weber State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in taxation. He finds great satisfaction and enjoyment in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors including Wild Game Ranger. Matthew graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Weber State University and earned an MBA and PhD in Information Systems from Utah State University.
We enjoy hiking, trail running, and participating in ultra marathons in the mountains. Many of our vacations involve spending time in the outdoors. Growing up in the Rocky Mountains has provided our families with great opportunities to be outside! We love watching wildlife in the mountains near our homes but especially in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks!
How the idea for Wild Game Ranger came to be
The idea for the Wild Game Ranger mobile app originated on one of our many trips to Yellowstone. We often kept track on paper the number and types of wildlife we would see. Over the years we began to see patterns in where and when certain species frequented various parts of the park. On many occasions we have been approached by tourists asking for guidance on where and when to view certain species of wildlife. We gladly pointed them in the right direction. To that end, we feel that the Wild Game Ranger mobile app will benefit the millions of wildlife enthusiasts all over the world.
Please support our Kickstarter project so that we can help people find where wildlife wander!
Matthew and Colton Mouritsen
Risks and challenges
There is an inherent amount of unpredictability in seeing wildlife due to migratory patterns, times of year, weather, predators, traffic, etc. It is common to see road signs that warn of “frequent wildlife crossings” or invite tourists to a “wildlife view area.” The Wild Game Ranger mobile app is intended to increase the probability that tourists and wildlife enthusiasts visiting the great outdoors will be able to find where wildlife wander, even amid the unpredictable patterns that wildlife demonstrate.
From a business perspective, the cost to develop the Wild Game Ranger mobile app is very expensive and presents a challenge moving forward. Contributions to this Kickstarter campaign will help provide the needed support to develop the application in iOS and Android as well as to develop a web-app. Dual mobile platform development and hosting costs will exceed $70,000. Funds raised from this campaign will be used to first fund an iOS release, followed closely by Android.