There has been a significant decline in the number of hunters over the years. As baby boomers age out of hunting, younger generations of hunters are not replacing them – only about 5% of Americans 16 or older hunt. According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, that‘s half of what it was 50 years ago. Hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities are essential for the future of conservation, as purchases of anything from a hunting permit to ammunition contribute to conservation funding. Eric Dinger recognized this problem, and he set out to find a solution. In early 2013, Dinger started creating Powderhook, and by October of the same year, it went live.

Powderhook is a mobile app that helps a new hunter or angler who wants to get started by connecting him/her with a local expert who wants to help somebody learn. A local expert can be anyone with experience outdoors, whether that be someone with a vast knowledge of great fishing locations in the area, or a lifelong turkey hunter. The app also has many helpful tools that are accessible from the wild, such as the first comprehensive public land map in all 50 states, lists of events near you, and detailed weather reports. Powderhook set out to give “access to all” by eliminating factors, such as lack of public land knowledge, that might prevent an old hunter from getting back out there or a new hunter from getting started.

In 2018 Eric Richey, the founder of Sovereign Sportsman Solutions, met Dinger and was introduced to Powderhook. As a hunter who also realized the threat to conservation and the outdoors from a decrease in hunting, Richey was intrigued by Powderhook and Dinger’s vision. Not too long after this friendship began, the two very passionate outdoorsmen started a new discussion: What if S3 acquired Powderhook? Richey believed that he could “help make Powderhook one of the most widely used mobile platforms,” and in 2018, Powderhook officially became a part of S3 as the first mobile solution offered to state agencies.

Powderhook’s original concept is now a configurable application that S3 offers to our partners as CORE Mobile. Utilizing all the great tools that began as an idea in Dinger’s head, CORE Mobile has taken this app to another level through technology which allows each state agency to communicate more directly to customers through direct messaging, promotions, notifications, and other individualized marketing strategies. Most importantly, this platform/strategy helps tackle the decline in hunters and anglers. Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels now have full access to a community, educational opportunities, and various features that act as a toolbox while outdoors.

The vision for this transition was to bring mobile engagement to state agencies, help them achieve their goals, and, in turn, get more people outdoors and generate money for conservation. With the Ohio Department of Natural Resources being the first to utilize CORE Mobile, the future is bright, and Richey believes “we are just getting started.” Richey set out to “do it all,” and by using his expertise and passion for the outdoors, he created Sovereign Sportsman Solutions and went to work on his goals.