Why Short Term Access to Private Land
During my first hunting trip my uncles secured hunting land by knocking on the doors of South Dakota farmers whose parents knew my grandparents. They let us hunt and we thanked them with frozen fish we’d caught the week before. In a world of Uber & Airbnb, knocking on doors and “paying” with fish felt anachronistic. It turns out finding land to hunt and fish isn’t easy.
There are three ways a hunter finds land to hunt or fish on. 1) Asking a neighbor to hunt their property. 2) Hunting public land. 3) Seasonal hunting leases.
Public hunting land has two distinct drawbacks. It’s filled with hunters, making harvesting game incredibly difficult. Second, so many hunters in one area - many of whom are novices - can be incredibly dangerous.
Seasonal hunting leases often cost over $10,000 per season and cover several hundred acres. Not only is this outside the typical hunter’s annual budget of $2,500, hunters do not need hundreds of acres of land to hunt.
Summer Venture Award $10,000 | Intended to assist students financially over the summer in lieu of full-time internships so that they can concentrate on developing their entrepreneurial ventures. Winners are required to work on their ventures full-time over the summer.
VIP X Xcelerate $4,000 | VIP-X is an intense, 3-month accelerator program for the most dedicated student and alumni entrepreneurs and the most advanced startups at Penn.
Innovation Fund $1,000 | Wharton'sfor projects that will accomplish real change in the world, innovations that disrupt the usual way of doing business, ideas that will, when brought to fruition, have true impact.
Ballard Spahr Law Firm Base Program $10,000 in Legal Aid | Ballard Spahr seeks to lessen these burdens for student entrepreneurs by offering pro bono legal assistance on discrete issues facing their potential ventures.
How We Targeted Landowners
To target landowners most likely to sign up for Fellow Hunter, we identified amenable attributes of residential properties. We used those attributes to comb through government parcel data we scrapped off the GIS systems for counties in Eastern PA. We mailed these landowners cards encouraging them to sign up and explaining the benefits. It worked. We signed up over 200 acres of properties. We also drove thousands of miles around PA dropping off fliers in mailboxes until local post offices contacted us and told us to stop. Officially, we did stop. Unofficially, we didn’t.
Deciding What to Include in Listings
Because hunters usually scout a property before hunting it, we had to figure out a way to scout our properties for the hunters so they felt comfortable booking the property without visiting it first. I interviewed dozens of hunters and made sure to document all of the information they looked for in the properties they hunted
We used funding to buy a drone to capture views of the properties our competitors didn’t provide. A professional photographer captured water sources, transitions in trees from hardwood to softwood, the type of feed on the on the property, where to park on the property, and much more. Our competitors left the descriptions and images of the properties up to the owners who often detailed little more than the size of the property and what game was on the property.
Visiting the properties to document the property also gave us the unique opportunity to cultivate relationships with the landowners. This helped us to understand the landowner’s concerns and motivations behind listing their property. In turn this helped up fine tune our messaging to attract more landowners