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January 2019
Author: Jerrod Lile

Your annual Huntin’ Fool membership includes the services of 25 full-time staff members who are dedicated to getting it right. At times, our staff’s collective drive to make sure that every detail has been double and triple checked is daunting. We produce about 1,500 pages of annual printed content that cannot be retracted. In light of that, every detail on every page is highly scrutinized by the team. After all, we assume that our members cherish their time in the field at least as much as we do. If that’s true, it’d kill us to lead one of you astray. 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in the number of services that keep cropping up, advertising everything from draw odds to virtual scouting services to license application services. Unlike many industries, there are no independent third party oversight committees that are tasked with making sure that these new hunting businesses are getting it right. In many cases, it appears to me that the business plan of these startups was launched under the wrong premise. If the motivation for starting the business was simply, “How can I make money in the hunting industry?” then it’s wrong from the start.

In my opinion, the right DNA for starting a business in the hunting space requires the entrepreneur to ask, “How can I help hunters maximize their hunting experiences?” When I think about startup businesses that have made a huge impact on my personal hunting success, I think of companies like onXmaps and Huntin’ Fool. I bought my first onXmaps chip when they were solving public land access issues from their garage as a startup company. I became a Huntin’ Fool disciple nearly 20 years ago when I realized that for a small annual investment, I’d get the help of an entire team of full-time researchers to augment my own research so that I could make the most of my precious time in the field each fall. While Huntin’ Fool is not the only team that works hard to help you have great hunts each fall, I can tell you that the vast majority of new players simply haven’t proven to have the passion for accuracy that you deserve. I’ve seen everything from unintentionally inaccurate information to outright dishonest claims. Frankly, it concerns me, not because I don’t like competition, but because I do. In fact, our good competitors make us better and it results in a better product for you.

With that being said, I can’t speak for those who are trying to carve out a slice of the hunting pie, I can only speak for us. I can tell you that if you spend a day in our office, you’ll be blown away by the passion we have for our members. I can tell you that we keep asking ourselves, “How can we do this better next time?” I can also tell you that the few times each year that we miss the slightest detail, there is a period of mourning in the office. Finally, I can tell you that if you have feedback, we are humble enough to listen and passionate enough to implement it. Please let us know how we can continue to help solve your hunting problems!