Before SG dealer GOHUNT became the multifaceted business it is today, its co-founder Lorenzo Sartini kept finding himself in a situation all-too familiar to avid hunters. Every year, he pored over tag application processes and game population data across western states trying to plan his upcoming hunting season. Each state was unique and complex. Regulations change from one hunting season to the next as wildlife managers adapt to conditions on the ground, and he felt like he was starting from scratch every year. While the process was always exciting for Sartini, it was also overly complicated and stressful.
As GOHUNT co-founder Chris Porter watched his friend go through the difficult process, it got him thinking.
“I watched Lorenzo go through this and saw how stressful it was,” Porter remembers. “When it clicked it was in 2013, and there was a lack of digital destinations aggregating this data. We knew we could create a community that could share this knowledge in an efficient, user-friendly way.”
The two friends came from online gaming backgrounds, and they started applying their software development savvy to the application process. The work was tedious, technical, and required significant research and coordination with state wildlife management agencies. Eventually, they began to merge the public data with proprietary systems that organized and presented comprehensive wild game data and hunting application information in a digestible format. It took two years altogether.
GOHUNT President Chris Porter and Founder Lorenzo Sartini on a Colorado mule deer hunt. Photo by Luke Dusenbury.
They launched the first phase of GOHUNT in 2015 and it immediately met a massive demand from hunters, especially hunters applying in multiple states.
“We identified our core customer early on,” Porter explains. “We serve all hunters who are seeking new adventures, whether just in their home state or across the west. GOHUNT unlocks those opportunities and shows you what's available. It's exactly like Zillow if you're looking for a house”
Using GOHUNT’s Insider planning tools, those hunters are able to research draw odds, track points, find data on individual game species, and learn about state regulations — all in one place.
“GOHUNT grew relatively quickly because there was nothing else like it,” Porter says.
As they built on GOHUNT’s success they identified two parts of a hunter's journey where they could help in similar ways: a gear shop filled with field-proven products and a digital mapping solution focused around hunters.
They launched the GOHUNT Gear Shop in 2017. While they were confident in the new venture’s business model — selling technical hunting products that their team had intrinsic knowledge of — they soon realized they were in uncharted territory.
“It was a really pivotal move at first,” Porter says. “They were foreign waters. Suddenly, we were dealing with all the complicated moving parts of a retail operation.”
Porter describes the business as “very boutique” at first. There was no brick-and-mortar location. They did not sell boots or apparel and only had limited optics.
“We were a very bootstrapped, scrappy team of eight people,” he says.
They also tied the retail business to a GOHUNT membership, offering members a rewards system for money spent in the online store. This model offered loyalty incentives and gave their customers an insider experience with a direct line to hunters who obsessed over great gear.
GOHUNT Founder Lorenzo Sartini breaks down an elk at night in New Mexico. Photo by Cam Henderson.
“Our inventory is very curated,” Porter says. “We are using and testing as much gear as possible to find out what works and why. Our customers really appreciate being able to ask our knowledgeable staff that uses what we sell and has a ton of knowledge about all our gear from a hunter’s perspective.”
As the retail business grew, GOHUNT grew their staff and inventory. Today, they offer virtually every technical product a hunter needs: packs, apparel, tents, sleep systems, footwear, optics, archery equipment, and a wide array of other technical gear.
In 2020, they shifted their focus ahead once again.
“We looked at the business and saw that we were helping hunters to prepare for hunts and helping to equip them with the gear they needed for those hunts, but we weren’t helping them in the field.”
With this in mind, they launched GOHUNT Maps in 2021.
“That’s when we really became a tech company,” Porter says.
Using the same membership business model, the app offers a robust mapping tool that gives private and public land boundaries, detailed and interactive 3D satellite imagery, hunting unit profiles, waypoints, and many other advanced mapping tools in both a web version and a smartphone app with downloadable maps for offline use.
“GOHUNT Maps really completed what we call the ‘GOHUNT Ecosystem,’” Porter says. “Every aspect of it identifies customer problems, solves them, and keeps going.”
As they keep going, the GOHUNT team is venturing into new areas fueled by their passion for hunting. Their growing media platforms include written stories on nearly every aspect of hunting as well as podcasts and films.
“We love storytelling and inspiring people,” Porter says. “It’s part of our community marketing strategy, but it’s also something that we’re just super passionate about. Our guys live to hunt. Personally, I just think everybody should try hunting. It’s primal, it reduces all the noise of the modern world, and challenges you in a really healthy way. It’s such a positive activity, and it’s great to be able to celebrate it in an inspiring way.”
Their “Big Hunt Guys” and “Game Trail” podcasts have nearly a million total downloads since launching last year. GOHUNT has also created more than 40 original hunt films that feature their staff and friends on a wide variety of hunts. Porter says their storytelling is meant to empower hunters and advocate for hunters.
“Our team is focused on being passionate about our customers, helping them to succeed, and sharing in their success,” he explains.
Today, GOHUNT employs nearly 60 people. Their Las Vegas headquarters includes a new brick-and-mortar store chock full of premier technical gear and equipment, including Stone Glacier products. In some ways, Porter says it’s simply a reflection of their love of hunting and hunters.
“We love this community and we love our customers,” he says. “We say we’re empowering people to live a more adventurous life. Whether it’s hunting for ourselves or helping our customers with their hunts, we love what we do.”
GOHUNT's Las Vegas showroom.