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Fantasy Hunting Seeks to Keep Hunters Involved



HuntingLeague.com HuntingLeague.com
Left photo: Andrew Rodriguez of Newton, Iowa and Jeff Renier of Otsego, Minn. Right photo: Ryan Finke of Richfield, Minn. and Justin Berg of International Falls, Minn.

Staff Reports

  What began two years ago with four hunting buddies sitting around a pole barn one day has grown into the first fantasy hunting league in the country.
     “We were talking about fantasy football,” Ryan Finke of  Richfield, Minn., said. “Then we realized that there was nothing for fantasy hunting.”
     With that, the four hunting buddies called family and friends who had experience designing and developing websites and within a year the Hunting League.com was born.
     In addition to Ryan, the other three hunting buddies are Andrew Rodriguez of Newton, Iowa; Jeff Renier of Otsego, Minn.; and Justin Berg of International Falls. Minn. Ryan, Jeff and Andrew had grown up together and Justin joined the group as a college buddy.
     The four hunting buddies still spend time hunting and camping together, according to Ryan. They were getting together the next weekend after I talked to them, to bow hunt at Camp Ripley. But with jobs and young families they realized that they would not have as much time to spend hunting together as they once had.
     “Our passion is hunting,” Ryan explained. “So we wanted to develop something that kept us connected to our passion.”
     “We hand selected thirty five hunters as our fantasy hunters,” Ryan explained. “They are both male and female hunters from throughout the country.”
     “For right now we are focusing on whitetail deer from all over North America.” he said.
     Website users may register for free to play on Hunting League.com. The fantasy hunting league season starts on the first of September and runs through the end of January.
     From the first through the fifth of each month website users select three fantasy hunters as their team. The fantasy hunters are profiled on the website for users to review as they select their teams each month. Through out the month the fantasy hunters call in when they have harvested a deer and scores are posted. A doe is worth twenty five points and each buck is awarded points based upon it’s rack score.
     “We wanted to promote quality deer management and not just big bucks,” Ryan stated. “So we included points for harvesting does as well as bucks.”
      Points are posted as soon as a fantasy hunter calls when they have harvested a deer. Scoring can change daily and users can see the scores of their fantasy hunters by checking on the website.
     Every month prizes are awarded to the website user with the highest scores. At the end of the season the monthly scores will be tabulated and the top prize will be awarded to the website user that has the greatest number of points.
     Although the season is currently in full swing, Ryan wants to encourage new users to still sign up for the league.
     “They can participate for December and January and are eligible for monthly prizes,” he said.
     The website is more then just fantasy hunting. It also has a wide exchange of assorted hunting and outdoor information. There are pages devoted to hunting news and information with hunting stories and dates for hunters to remember. There is a recipe page, another devoted to hunting tips, a bragging journal for website users and a photo contest. The photo contest is open to kids photos, general hunting photos and trail cam photos.
     There are a number of plans for future expansion of the league, according to Ryan.
     “We are planning to add multiple species of big game,” he said.
     As well, they are planning to add spring hunting for turkey and bear.
     “We want to develop it into a league that has something all year,” Ryan stated.
     “Our goal is to get people involved in their passion of hunting,” he said. “Our website allows hunters a chance to stay involved and to follow other hunters although they might not have the chance to get out into field as much as they might want to.”
     “We want to keep the passion going for them,” Ryan said.
     To review their website or to register in the league just check out huntingleague.com.

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