Who knew that a youth spent hunting and recent gun law reforms would culminate in the creation of HuntingHQ…
Canterbury businessman, Marc Featherstone has always loved hunting, but his focus in recent years has included serving as president of the Christchurch Pistol Club, working with the Police as a Range Certifier, and sports shooting.
Marc began thinking about re-igniting his earlier interest in hunting but discussion with experienced Hunters highlighted a gap in the market for suitable hunting locations. And knowing that we have a growing problem with unwanted wildlife in New Zealand, Marc spent several months chatting with Farmers to find out why this might be the case.
Mitch Tucker – Marketing and Events Manager (Left)
Marc Featherstone – Founder & Director (Right)
Talking to our farming community was enlightening… Farmers have limited time and resources to spend on eradicating unwanted wildlife… many Farmers have spent a fortune trying to eradicate pests… and some Farmers are reluctant to invite guests onto their property because it is just too difficult with increasing health and safety requirements, variable Hunter skill levels, no Hunter insurance, and the inability to track a Hunters movements and activities whilst on their property.
A slump in the demand for wool and fluctuating dairy prices has seen Farmers look to other business models to increase income, and with thousands of Hunters in New Zealand and overseas clamouring for good hunting land Marc saw an opportunity to support our farming community.
“HuntingHQ is based on a private Airbnb model, so it is free for Farmers to list their property; Farmers earn an income by charging a fee per Hunter per day, and where appropriate for accommodation and/or a hunt guide. HuntingHQ takes a small service fee of 15% from bookings made and paid for by the Hunter. And our Hunters benefit from having the opportunity to access exclusive and unique hunting locations which wouldn’t otherwise be available to them. Properties listed with HuntingHQ are not able to be viewed by the general public.”
Providing further assurance to our Farmers, Marc initiated a Hunter-star rating system – all approved Hunters are given a 4-star rating, or 5-star if they belong to a gun club or hold a current first aid certificate.
“Farmers have the opportunity to rate the Hunters they invite onto their land and if we see that a Hunters star-rating has dropped below 3.9 their profile is suspended pending an investigation. And likewise Hunters also have the ability to rate a property.”
Hunter safety, conduct and continued education are also extremely important to Marc and looking to strengthen the bond between Farmer and Hunter he created an online community forum and educational module where Hunters can ask questions and view educational videos on everything from gun safety to skinning, gutting and preparing game.
“Around a third of our Hunters are keen to go out with a hunt guide to expand their knowledge… we have a unique opportunity to support and upskill our hunting community. Encouraging respect for self and others is vital when using firearms and looking after someone else’s land.”
Since the establishment of HuntingHQ, Marc is constantly amazed at the support he has received from the farming and hunting community alike. Word has spread like wildfire, as it solves problems for so many people and Marc is regularly being approached by businesses wanting to form an alliance. Marc is very happy to have a chat with any company who feels their philosophies or products align with HuntingHQ’s mission. So just drop him a line…
Watch this space… Marc also has big plans for small rodent trapping modules in the future!