Ben is a born and raised Montana outdoorsman with Obsessive Compulsive Firewood Disorder. When he isn’t hunting or cutting down trees he is hard at work as Hunt the Wild West President. He is not only the idea guy, but also manages company finances and day to day operations making sure HTWW stays true to its mission to preserve and promote the memories and joys of fair chase hunting through the representation of every harvest as a trophy.
Liza is a third generation Montanan who lives for outdoor adventures. You can usually find her at her desk working on Hunt the Wild West but if not she is most likely hunting, writing, hiking or teaching Hunter Ed. As HTWW VP she is responsible for platform maintenance and development, marketing, outreach, customer service, affiliate partnerships, and brand relationships.
Hunt the Wild West has been destined since that “one” idea that could be something big, and Hunt the Wild West is big! It all started when HTWW Vice President Liza Sautter was only 13 and she conceptualized, developed and created her blog. That blog later stemmed the outdoor family blog called Outdoor Montanans which opened a new world to the Hunt the Wild West Co-Founders . That being the world of social media.
A few months into Outdoor Montanans we began receiving a variety of outdoor and hunting magazines. It was early November, during the 2014 Montana General Rifle Season, by stroke of luck we got the special hunting edition of Colorado Outdoors Magazine. The annual hunting edition featured an article about Colorado’s Big 8. We had never heard of Colorado’s Big 8 but after reading the article the idea was clear. Right there at the kitchen table in our rustic hunting cabin in Southwest Montana, Liza and I (HTWW President Ben Sautter) began to dream up a virtual trophy room. A trophy room where any and every hunter could show his or her pride of harvest of any species or gender of all of Montana’s 10 big game species. There would be no minimum scoring qualifications to post your trophy. No measurement certification needed to have your name and your photos available for all to see, as we agreed that every harvest is a trophy. This would be a place for the youth hunter or anyone else to show pride in the harvest of his first doe deer or first cow elk and a place free from the negative comments of those who take offense to the hunting heritage. The idea then morphed to include the harvest of big game species in any of the twelve western United States, or all of them via HTWW.
During developmental and research stages of this concept we found a statement made by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks that really proved the merits of Hunt the Wild West and each state’s big game competition and that statement is as follows:
“Each year over 200,000 hunters go out onto Montana’s mountains, foothills, and plains in pursuit of big game on both private and public lands. Although [many clubs, programs, and websites including FWP] present and honor those larger specimens of Montana big game animals, it is important to remember that the pursuit, harvest, and possession of a trophy has special meaning to many hunters. Any game animal taken in fair chase, no matter the size, is indeed a trophy to be proud of and is every bit as worthy of respect and admiration as those of record class proportions. [It] serves as a reminder of the joys of memorable past hunts and stimulates dreams of future hunts in the great outdoors of Montana. Enjoy.”
Not every trophy out there can make the minimum for Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve representation in the record books of hunting in Montana or any other state. We decided that here we recognize every harvest as a trophy because not a one comes easy; you earned your bragging rights and you should share your excitement.
Now, what about those of the competitive nature? This is where you “get in the game” and the game is called In Pursuit. For some the challenge of the hunt is not enough. The engagement with the outdoors is just a part of the excitement. It is not just the challenge of the species but the challenge of the more mature, more wiley and the more cagey animals proving a greater test. In Pursuit, is the virtual trophy room that tracks all of the competitors in each of the twelve western states including Alaska. The game of In Pursuit is all about the capture of the big game species in each state but the competition is about the score of the entries. As stated before the fact every harvest is a trophy means an equal generic score is given to male and female of each species in our competition. For the competition, In Pursuit, the animals must have a Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young scoring certificate for you to enter a custom score, or they will be assigned a HTWW generic score. Again, remember that the HTWW competitions are about species and you can reach success with either gender, but for those more competitive at heart you can upgrade your score. You can choose your weapon to be a bow and score with Pope and Young, a rifle and score with Boone and Crockett or you can use a combination of both. You can tell all your stories, post all your photos and videos of each of your trophy species and see where you stand among all the competitors. Who can get there first and who can be at the top? What state can produce the most successful hunters and highest scores? The reward of success maybe more than just your personal satisfaction.
Does your competitive nature extend beyond the borders of your state? The Wild 18 is the membership for you, allowing you to compete in all 12 western states for the harvest of the 18 named species. Far from the demands of the Super Slam, the Wild 18 is an attainable feat for the average hunter, avoiding high price tags and full-time hunting.
HTWW is a paid membership niche social media platform for hunters in the Western United States. You can tell your stories with unlimited text, show unlimited pictures and videos, chronicle your hunting career as you journey towards the harvest of all of your state’s big game species and share it with all of those you choose. You can amass a following of HTWW users, as well as outsiders viewing your profile. Better than Facebook or Twitter, viewers get a true sense of the hunter and not all of the everyday jumble that surrounds them. Build your profile to the height of its own website without the expenses of hosting and construction and without the dangers that face hunters on most other public platforms. Anyone can come into the site and see all that we have but comments are welcome for members only creating a hunting community protected from those who don’t share in our hunting camaraderie. When you build your profile on HTWW, you get all the benefits without all the bull.
Along the way at Hunt the Wild West there will be the chance to be Hunter of the month, Youth Hunter of the month, Lady Hunter of the month, Wounded Warrior and other chances for recognition on the front page. Will one of your photos be under the red at the top of your state page or maybe at the top of the page for Hunt the Wild West. Watch for “Luck of the Draw” when you can brag about your tag. We all know that you have to score the tag before you ever get to score your harvest. Who got a tag or special permit with the least amount of points or who scored a tag after waiting the most number of years?
As membership grows there will be much more vendor participation and the marketing will be specific for the hunting audience. Seek out those custom made items that are so hard to find. If you are a maker of those specialty items you can find your customers right here at HTWW. As a user of this niche site that also means you don’t have to see those annoying non-pertinent ads.
You are joining Hunt the Wild West at its very initial stages and there are already notebooks full of ideas as to expansion. Your user experience has nowhere to go but up with these future upgrades, our sole focus being you.