Sam Seeton thinks the experience, background and education he and his business partners have perfectly matches the mission of their Casper-based company, Infinite Outdoors.
“We’re high-tech rednecks,” Seeton said. “There’s very few people who grew up hunting and fishing, ranching and farming and also know how to write computer code.”
They hope they’re on the cutting edge of an outdoors trend. That being, coaxing average hunters and anglers in places like Wyoming to use a digital app to get access to exclusive private property at reasonable prices.
It’s a balancing act of keeping landowners happy without driving access prices up to the point where hunting and fishing become rich men’s pastimes, Michael Maroney, the company’s marketing director and lead wildlife biologist, told Cowboy State Daily.
“If you want to go goose hunting in some prime areas, you can either join a hunting club for a few thousand dollars a year, or pay a guide $350. Or, we can get you in to hunt by yourself for the day for $80,” he said.
Days Of ‘Paying With A Six-Pack’ Are Gone
Seeton and Maroney said they both realize that paid access might be a tough sell for many Wyoming hunters and anglers. Those folks are fiercely independent and take pride in being their own guides on vast expanses of free public land.
But as they see it, Infinite Outdoors is offering an important niche between expensive guided hunts on one end, and free access to public land on the other. And they think they can do it without detracting from people still being able to choose those other two options, if that’s what they want.
Infinite Outdoors offers access to private property in 12 states across the Rocky Mountain, High Plains and Midwest regions, Maroney said.
Across that territory, much of the private land is already locked up in exclusive, expensive leases, or reserved for members-only hunting clubs. Meanwhile, even in wide-open states like Wyoming, public hunting areas are getting crowded, he said.
“Whether we like it or not, it’s turned into that,” Maroney said. “The days of being able to pay a landowner with a six-pack for hunting access are gone — both from a monetary standpoint and a liability for the landowner standpoint.”
For Infinite Outdoors customers, access fees might be in the $60 range for one-day bird hunts. For access to red-hot trophy big game hunting areas on private land, it’s more pricey but worth it, Seeton said.
“If I’m an average hunter. I might be willing to pay $900 for a chance to get a Boone & Crockett antelope without having to face crowds or risk getting shot at,” he told Cowboy State Daily.
The Boone & Crockett Club is one of the world’s most highly respected trophy hunting organizations. Shooting a critter big enough to make it into its offical record books is the dream of many hunters.
How It Works
Seeton and Maroney both grew up on ranches, and loved hunting and fishing on their family’s properties. They said that’s given them insight from the points of view of outdoors enthusiasts and landowners.
They met while attending the Colorado School of Mines, where they began hatching plans for a digital app that might solve some of the growing frustration on both sides of fence between landowners and average folks looking for secluded places to hunt and fish.
Infinite Outdoors offers a free app that downloads detailed maps of land ownership across the West and Midwest. That will help do-it-yourself, public land hunters and anglers find spots without having to worry about mistakenly trespassing on private land, Seeder said.
For customers willing to go behind the paywall, there are access maps, schedules and fee rates for private parcels the company leases.
It’s not for guided hunts or fishing trips, he said. It’s for experienced hunters and anglers who are willing to pay to get the place exclusively to themselves during their scheduled access days.
For the landowners, “it takes away the headache” of having to take request for access or juggle scheduling who gets to hunt or fish on which days on their property, Seeder said.
It also protects landowners from being locked out of fishing or hunting on their own property by exclusive leases, he said.
“We’re giving control back to the landowners. From the landowners’ perspective, we wanted it as hands off as possible, by not losing that heritage of still being able to hunt on your own land with your family and friends,” Seeton said.
They also support good game management, he added.
“We won’t let any landowners onto our platform unless they work with our wildlife biologists,” Seeton said.
Infinite Outdoors might also boost tourism in Natrona County and the rest of central Wyoming, Tyler Daugherty, director of Visit Casper, told Cowboy State Daily.
Visit Casper recently partnered with the company, which will help get the word out about central Wyoming’s attractions, he said. And not only to the hunters and anglers who get access through the app, but their families as well.
“When most people think of Wyoming, they think of Yellowstone,” he said.
That left many in Casper and the surrounding area thinking tourism wasn’t a viable option for the local economy. But the mobs who showed up for prime viewing of the 2017 solar eclipse changed that perception, Daugherty said.
“I think there was a measurable shift in perception with the 2017 eclipse. People realized, ‘Holy cow, there is a large market for tourism here,’” he said.
Infinite Outdoors can market central Wyoming to all of the other states its serves, which is of huge value, he said.
“If we had to spend marketing dollars to get information out to the people in all of those states on our own, we’d blow right through our marketing budget,” he said.
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.