Local developer creates mobile app that helps hunters check if animals are in season

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The glimmer and shine of nearly $20 million in boating products filled the BMO Centre earlier this month at the Calgary Boat and Sportsmen’s Show. This was one Calgary software developer’s very first trade show, and he took advantage of this large venue to promote his own product.

Mark Stenroos is co-creator of iHunter, a phone app that helps hunters plan their hunt, look up regulations and track locations of animals.

“You don’t always have your regulations with you, but you always have your phone with you,” said Stenroos.

The product was released in fall of 2012, garnering 3,000 purchases in the first six weeks after it was launched.

 A hunter himself, Stenroos utilized his software developing background and passion for the outdoors to create iHunter. After looking for places to hunt in the Calgary area, and trying to find out where he could and could not go, Stenroos thought of an idea. 

“I came across a bunch of data that provided all of the WMU data, or the Wildlife Management Unit boundaries,” Stenroos said. “And I figured I could actually overlay that overtop of the maps on my phone, and it actually kind of steamrolled into a product that people were willing to spend a little money on.”

Traditionally, hunters rely on a paper booklet that contains a map of Alberta with the WMUs that each has their own regulations and seasons. More recently, hunters could access the data on the Alberta Hunting Regulations website.

However, it wasn’t until the creation of iHunter that hunters could access, store and locate all of the information in one central place.

While at the trade show, Stenroos decided to team up with hunting stars of the upcoming reality show The Replacements, who were able to verify the use of iHunter in the field. The Albertan hunters had won on Wild TV’s show The Search, and then created their own show, which is to be aired in July.

Additional iHunter features:
- Sunset/sunrise calculator to help plan when to legally hunt
- GPS tracking to indicate what zone you are in
- Sroppable pins to remember where you last saw that monster deer
- Storage of land owner information

“iHunter is great,” said Marc Andre of The Replacements. “We use it all the time. It’s easy, and it comes right up on our phones.”

Andre also mentioned the convenience of not having to rely on a paper map, which can be cumbersome when trying to find one’s exact location.

For $6.99, the app is available on the iTunes store, and the Google Play store for Android and iPhone users.

Boasting a 4.5- out of 5-star rating on the iTunes store as well as claiming the No. 13 spot on iTunes top-selling sports apps, iHunter continues to be popular and Stenroos said he only sees expansion in the future.

ihunter3 copyOutdoor enthusiasts young and old stopped by the iHunter booth at the Calgary Boat and Sportsmen show.

Photo by Kelsey Simpson
Travelling from British Columbia to New Brunswick, the app has already spanned seven provinces, working within each province's regulations. Stenroos said he has no intentions of slowing down just yet.

“We definitely have a couple of really good features coming up this year,” said Stenroos.” “But we are also going to expand in geography.

“We’re are going to add a bunch of the states in the U.S., and try to finish out Canada as well and get the remaining provinces.”