How does your fly fishing trophy stack up against the muley your buddy arrowed in Wyoming?
Who gets the bragging rights — the archer who tagged a 180-inch whitetail on public land or the turkey hunter who completed a successful run and gun mission on a gobbler with a 12-inch beard?
The new GoWild app has the answer for these subjective scenarios, thanks to a unique algorithm. Rather than just accounting for rack size, the scoring system uses multiple data points to calculate a universal trophy score, including species, shot distance, weapon, land type and location in addition to traditional factors like quarry weight and beard length.
The app awards an overall score based on the data and serves as a virtual trophy room complete with photos, stats and stories that users can revisit for years to come. And this is only a fraction of the functionality outdoorsmen will find in the GoWild app.
GoWild Co-Founder and CEO, Brad Luttrell, spent much of his childhood hunting and fishing with his grandpa. He continued to enjoy the outdoors through his young adult years, frequently hunting with a friend.
"I thought I was becoming a good hunter," he said. "But really, I was just hanging out with one."
With this realization, Brad endeavored to invest more time in the sport and take part in the preparation that leads to a successful season.
As he looked for an outlet for community conversation, he realized hunters and anglers didn't have many options. After receiving death threats from anti-hunters — even some he personally knew — in the past, Brad was hesitant to post hunting photos on traditional social media sites.
Although he wanted to promote what he calls this "responsible, ethical way of living," Brad couldn't find an effective tool to do so. So, he created one.
A Labor of Love
To make GoWild a reality, Brad partnered with three other outdoorsmen who were passionate about the cause. So passionate, in fact, that they chose to take on the side project rather than outsource it, despite the fact they all work full-time jobs.
"I wanted to build this in-house so that we would have the flexibility to pivot with what's going on in the hunting industry, but most importantly, the tech industry," Brad said. "An app is only as good as its last update, so I've pulled together a team of outdoorsmen and women who love this as much as I do and who are a lot better than I am at design, development and marketing. We're pouring our hearts and souls into this because it's ours."
A year later, the app officially launched in mid-September, and GoWild is already planning to add three more members to the team before 2018.
One of those new additions is John Hunter, who will take over as Chief Strategy Officer. John is an FLW Tour Co-Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Elite Pro, plus an avid bowhunter.
"Brad formed a diverse team of people to put GoWild into motion, but they were looking to add someone who had a lot of experience in the outdoor sector," John said. "I saw the product and immediately knew they had something special, and I wanted to be a part of it."
Unlike many outdoors apps on the market that provide in-the-field tools, GoWild is a social media app first and foremost, because Brad and his team are focused on building community and crowdsourcing information.
"I realized there was not a central place for people to share information, learn and get good, localized advice," Brad said. "There are many great publications out there, but so many assume you have a base level of knowledge out of the gate. If you don't, you have to resort to digging through forums, where information is often unique to that one hunter's experience, and may not be relevant to you."
Something For Everyone
Users can post and read about a wide variety of general and niche topics — including archery, camping, big game hunting, nature photography and firearms — as well as share and explore wild game recipes.
In addition to participating in topical discussions and logging trophies, users can track time actively spent in the outdoors. The current list of activities includes shed hunting, biking, trail running and dog training.
"GoWild has a unique way of incorporating all kinds of outdoor activities," John said. "It levels the playing field, lets you be competitive and gives you a chance to appreciate what you've done by giving it a numerical value."
All activity feeds into a user score, so experienced hunters who are logging serious time in the field or racking up trophies can build credibility and establish themselves as thought leaders within the community.
"Users build content — not a following — first," Brad said. "Everyone can see what you post."
The app was designed to learn and adapt for each user, and some geo-targeting customization is slated for future updates.
"What you see in GoWild currently is just a part of what it's going to be six months from now," John said.
Users will also have the chance to win gear through giveaways hosted through the app. Best of all, the GoWild app is completely free.
"I wanted to create a safe haven for hunters to share their stories, free of hunter harassment. It's crazy to me that these giant social media platforms are targeting hunting pages and profiles, even going as far as to remove them when they cross some undefined line in their community guidelines. That's not helping us get more people to try this sustainable, ethical lifestyle," Brad said. "GoWild will do just that."
The GoWild app is currently available in the App store for iOS devices and availability for the Android platform is in the works. To learn more about GoWild, click here.