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Reserving tree stands for the Wallace Deer Management Association

Coordinating use of stands for a group of hunters is time-consuming

  • I helped Randy Caspersen with brochures for his archery group over the last year or so.  The Wallace Deer Management Association is a group of archery hunters who work closely with home owners to harvest deer that have become pests.
  • The Wallace Deer Management Association is a group of responsible hunters. They meet with landowners who have a problem with white-tailed deer and discuss hunting responsibly on the property.  Members hunt from existing tree stands. The stands help the landowners to know where hunters will be.  The stands are safer for hunting because they direct shooting down towards the ground.
  • The membership of the WDMA has grown. The number of landowners and stands grew. Once archery season started the task of coordinating the hunters and the stands grew as well. The effort needed by WDMA’s officers for coordinating was becoming a problem.  The officers were spending time coordinating instead of hunting.
  • MS Word and Excel were among the tools used to manage the information.

We looked at alternatives to Word & Excel

Google Apps was one of the first alternatives we looked at.

  • Google Apps are web-based applications like MS Office.
  • Google calendar allows sharing calendars with other people.  After 5 or 6 events in a day it became hard to tell the events apart.  Given the number of members and stands Google Calendar is not a good solution.
  • With Google Sites a table layout could be made for tracking use of the stands.  While Sites is easier than working with HTML many of the WDMA members are not technical enough to work with it.
  • Most of the Google Apps are free of charge.
  • Google Apps allow you to restrict who has access.

A few Open Source apps might have worked

  • The Open Source apps had a higher learning curve than WDMA could work with.
  • Hunters make up the WDMA group.  Many of these folks do not use PCs much.  We didn’t find a good fit in the time we took.

Manually edited web page

  • There are a few web editing programs that make it as simple as working with MS Word or Excel.
  • Protecting potentially sensitive information gets cumbersome.
  • These alternatives only worked well when there was only one or two people updating the reservations while everyone else could only read.

Develop a custom website

  • Throughout our search for alternatives the WDMA folks asked about a custom website solution.
  • I knew that a simple site wouldn’t be much more efficient than the other alternatives.
  • It was Randy’s hand sketches that convinced me.  We basically came up with a storyboard showing how the thing would have to work in order for hunters to work with it.

Posted in Interests, programming, web development.

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