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The Duck Log

By Steve Van Ert

An APParent Need

I remember the day I walked out of Wal-Mart, feeling like a heel because once again I made up numbers for the HIPS survey, collected my stamp and walked out the door. Like I could remember how many ducks that I shot last year!  I stared down at my phone waiting for it to magically give me the answer, as it does in so many other ways, like checking the weather to see if I should get up at 3AM to go duck hunting, or to track my path as I hike a new area searching for mushrooms or Mountain Quail. Or, for banking, and staying in touch with my students and loved ones, or even to watch (squint) NFL games!

 Nothing.

 I can hardly remember not having a phone attached to me as if it were a new appendage.  If by some chance I’m not anchored to it, you can bet it is nearby! Yes, I even take it to the bathroom!  I use my phone for solving so many of life’s dilemmas, but never had I used it to track the type and number of waterfowl I shoot. That feels like a chore, not fun like apps can be.

As a science teacher, I understand the importance of reliable data and it just truly bugged me that I hadn’t bothered to track my results. The HIP Survey helps to improve waterfowl management, and therefore, my duck hunting opportunities. Then it struck me; I should be able to download an app for this! I searched the app store with no luck. I couldn’t believe no one had created this yet, so I decided I would. Lots of time and money later, My Duck Log was launched.

The idea was simple; create a way to track the number of different ducks and geese shot during the season. My Duck Log came out mid November, 2011. After using it out in the field, new features came to mind, such as the Duck Identification library, Individual record delete, mapping, sharing and creating notes that integrate photos, video,  text capabilities and the option to brag to the world by email, text, or social media. I wanted to keep improving My Duck Log, so as users started to give their feedback, glitches were addressed quickly, while recommendations were implemented as time and money allowed.

Since that first season in 2011, thanks to your feedback, almost ten thousand users in more than 100 countries are shooting pictures, confidently identifying waterfowl, recording results of individual hunting days and bragging to hundreds of friends instantaneously.  More can be done though, so right now work is underway to add the ability to track your locations along with the number and species of ducks taken. This upgrade to My Duck Log, along with upgrades to other apps, is due out early December.

After creating My Duck Log, the same idea for tracking results was applied for other areas, such as My Bird Log for Upland Game hunters, My Fish Log and My Mushroom Log, as well as two games that challenge the user to quickly identify waterfowl (Duck Master), or other wild game (Wild Game Master). And while some hunters scoff at playing games while in the field, it is a great way to kill some time waiting for the next flock to show up. Besides, playing Duck Master helps you to quickly identify birds in the field so it’s more of an educational/training experience!

This year I was confident when I went to get my license because the clerk at Wal-Mart, all of my Facebook friends, and anyone else who would listen would know exactly how many ducks(89) and geese(9) I shot.  They also could have seen pictures of all those beautiful birds, and if they were lucky, they would know where I had hunted! With­­ My Duck Log you don’t need to get caught making up numbers next year when filling out your HIP survey. Instead, just download and use My Duck Log, available on Apple and Android devices and then visit www.myducklog.com to create a comprehensive record of all of your hunting days.