Deer Tracker: Powderhook’s Much Anticipated App for the QDMA Has Arrived … And I Love It
Powderhook, the online resource for connecting hunters and fisherman with great places to enjoy the outdoors, has just released a brand new hunting app for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). Available for both Androids and iPhones, and as a desktop version, Deer Tracker brings local deer activity and harvest information to hunters in a very user-friendly and well designed app.
(See QDMA’s press release here.)
I downloaded the app yesterday and spent an enjoyable portion of my travel day testing it out.
The first thing you’ll notice when you go to download Deer Tracker is its price: free. Thanks to some heavy-hitting sponsors such as Cabela’s, Bushnell, Hunting Lease Network, Sitka, and of course, the QDMA, Deer Tracker is a free app.
Upon launching Deer Tracker, (after a quick one-time account creation) you’ll be looking at a map of your region with a side heat index to indicate deer activity. Users can explore deer activity on both a local and national scale through the interactive map. And, no, the heat-index isn’t just to track the rut – it’s to monitor daytime deer movement before, during, and well after the rut as well. From here you can zoom in or out, move around to other areas of the country, or type in a specific location to go to. There’s also a GPS icon to snap you back to your general location if you’ve been exploring around the country and “get lost”.
Important note: Powderhook is by hunters, for hunters. So they know how important privacy is. Deer Tracker will never reveal your exact location to anyone on the app or anywhere else. Locations of reports and activity are generalized.
Hunters can then create harvest reports or observation reports with several interesting data inputs such as “behavior observed”, “method of harvest”, photos, and more. You can also browse all reports across the country (very addicting) or search reports by specific locations.
A note on design: yes Deer Tracker is simple to use, effective, and fun, but it also looks really great. I’m not a fan when outdoor products lack in good design. It’s beautiful outside – outdoor tools should be too! Deer Tracker’s sponsor advertising is very minimal, and their artistic antler motif is very similar to this site – so obviously I am into that.
Some of my initial questions:
Q. Is the heat map purely user generated? If so, than wouldn’t it rely solely on user participation?
A. No. Not really. Powderhook and QDMA’s Deer Tracker sponsors (such as Cabela’s and Sitka) contribute their “boots on the ground” to the app as well. For example, in-the-field QDMA or Cabela’s affiliated personnel are out there regularly contributing reports to the app. When you click on a report by one of these affiliated users their sponsor-organization logo will be visible. But yes, a large part of the success of Deer Tracker will be “regular” user/hunter driven.
- Q. What, if anything, will be done with the data generated by Deer Tracker?
- A. QDMA and Powderhook plan on using the data from the app towards longterm research projects. I love the annual QDMA Whitetail report so am looking forward to seeing hopefully increased data via Deer Tracker.
Q. Are you out of luck if you still haven’t jumped on board with an Android or iPhone?
A. Negative. (Unless you don’t have a computer and internet either, then yes, out of luck … but you probably won’t be reading this anyway if you don’t have those things…). Deer Tracker has a great desktop version as well. Just go to deertrackerapp.com to use the desktop version.
- Q. Does Powderhook have other apps?
- A. Yes. Check out their app Gobble Map they launched earlier this year in partnership with the NWTF. It’s Deer Tracker for turkeys.
I’m really looking forward to using Deer Tracker more this fall. I think it’s a huge win towards the effort to get new hunters excited about going out, and also to get veteran hunters more connected with the big-picture of deer hunting and involved in QDMA practices. I believe it’s going to become more and more important for hunters to regularly work with organizations like QDMA (who in turn partner with local DNR’s) by submitting field reports. The data from hunter field reports each year really impacts long-term wildlife management and I believe we, as hunters, have a responsibility to be involved in these best management practices to ensure wildlife populations will be sustainable for the generations to come.