Since the most recent update to the ElkNut app on October 7, 2022, the below Q&A isn’t completely relevant any more. We’ve found a way to restore original content to one-time purchasers, and require a subscription only for new content added to the app. We appreciate everyone’s patience through this update process as we try to find the best approach going forward. The below information does help tell the story for all the change that we’ve experienced over the last few months, so we want to make sure it’s still accessible to review and consider.
We have received a lot of questions from our app users that we would like to answer for everyone. We are blessed to have an amazing customer base that has been patient with us as we’ve worked through challenges that have arisen along the way. Thank you for that. And now, to the Q&A.
“Why are you changing to a subscription model?”
I’ve spoken with many of you about this via email, text and phone over the last few days. This has been a decision we’ve wrestled with for a long time. The ElkNut app started as a passion project of ours way back in 2016 after I got my very first taste of archery elk hunting in September and first listened to the ElkNut, Paul Medel, on the Hunt Backcountry Podcast. I figured there had to be a good mobile app tool to teach me how to call elk, and when I didn’t locate any on the App Store, called up Paul and he agreed to give this idea a go. The team, Paul (elk calling expert), Dustin (app developer), Jack (videographer/editor), and Ryan (marketing/brother in law/hunting buddy), and myself (everything else), are trying to side hustle this thing all while working full time day jobs, taking care of our families and hunt with what little time we have left over. (Paul is, as many of you know, retired after a hard-working career in the construction industry doing masonry.) We’re just normal guys trying to keep up with the increasing cost in time and resources demanded by the ElkNut app.
For the last five years we have updated the ElkNut app and kept it current and functional without charging any additional fee beyond that one-time purchase price. Paul has also been very free with his time, providing free podcasts and seminars, and always taking a phone call or responding to an email from a fellow elk hunter.
Without making a change, the ElkNut app would have eventually run out of steam completely, falling behind upgraded phones and devices, stuck in neutral while everything else keeps moving. We made this change to a subscription model to avoid that, as it provides the resources to make regular updates, stay up to speed with technology and keep the content current and increasing.
(Along these lines, here’s a letter that Paul and I put together and sent out via email in early August).
“Why can’t we just go back to the old app?”
Bifurcating the ElkNut app into two apps was an idea that we considered. But in a time when we are trying to better balance the costs and demands of a growing app platform as a very small company, overseeing two ElkNut apps instead of one would have been counter to the reasons that prompted the change to a subscription model in the first place, as discussed above. Thus, we decided to push out the subscription update as a new version of the ElkNut app, which in effect did away with the old version. While the old version is no longer available, we’re confident you’ll love the updated version.
“What does the new version of the ElkNut app have that’s different from the old?”
For starters, we added 28 new videos that clarified or expanded upon elk sounds on the app or added new sequences or tactics. This is the biggest update in terms of content that we’ve ever made to the app.
Next, we redesigned the app to increase readability and visual appeal.
And lastly, we added a number of new features: (1) Got Game Tech user account that will better enable us to communicate with app users in the future. Not having basic contact information for app users like an email address (the App Store and Play Store don’t share that with us when you sign up) has been a real problem, underscored by the fact that many of you did not know the update was coming down the pipe. (2) Home Page, including a News Feed for updates from the team, and a Favorites menu for easy access to your favorite calls, sequences and tactics. (3) Downloads page that makes preparing the app for offline use much easier to manage. (4) Products page to share exclusive offers made available to ElkNut app users; this is an area we hope to better leverage on behalf of our users in a way that also helps offset the annual app subscription cost. (5) #Elknutsuccess page to feature successful elk hunts by the ElkNut team and app users. (6) Web-based app version free to subscribers for desktop computer use.
“I’ve already paid to download the app when it was a one time purchase. Why do I have to pay again?”
Our team, myself and Paul included, have emphasized in the past that the app was to be a one time purchase app. That’s absolutely been said. However, for the reasons discussed above about not wanting the app to go unmaintained and not keep up with new phones and systems into the future, we have had to change our pricing model to maintain the ElkNut app and keep it current and usable into the future.
We do want to make sure we do right by those who bought the ElkNut app under the impression that it would never be a subscription app. That is why we are offering recent app purchasers a free year under the subscription and all other users who convert over a 50% off discount. If however, you do not feel that you have received adequate value from the ElkNut app for the $9.99 USD that you paid for it from your date of purchase until today, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get it worked out.
“Why release the update in the middle of September?”
Timing for this update was not good. It was not our plan to release mid-September. As some of you know, we released the web-based version (also a perk of the new update) on August 1, with plans of the Apple and Android mobile app releases to quickly follow. But the mobile app update took much more time to finish than anticipated, and we didn’t receive an approval from the App Store to release until midday on September 9. We discussed holding off on the app release, but ultimately decided to get it out there so our app users could use and implement the new content and features with some time left in the archery elk season. Thus, the Apple version released Saturday, September 10.
Our team has been answering emails phone calls and text messages from 6 am to 11 pm every day since then, and will be happy to continue to do so as long as needed to make sure app users can get up and running as soon as possible. I really appreciate your patience as we’ve worked through this update and dealt with some challenges with the App Store subscription approval along the way (more on that below).
“What was going on with the App Store the first four days?”
As stated above, we received approval to release the app on September 9. However, despite approving the app, and without any messaging of any kind, the App Store did not approve the subscription. Having received the green light on the app as a whole, we let ‘er rip at 6 am MT on September 10, and then found out that nothing happened when the subscription button was clicked. We were fortunate to have a technical workaround, but it absolutely complicated the app release. Fortunately, after four days of more work, lots of calls and emails, and sweating bullets, this issue has been resolved, and the subscription button on the Apple version is fully functional.
“What does the subscription cost?”
The annual subscription is $14.99 at full price, but is currently available to subscribe for $7.49. I’m not sure you can find many hamburgers that cost less than that.
“What if I bought the app recently?”
Anyone who has purchased the app between June 1, 2022 and September 9, 2022 is entitled to a free annual subscription. We’ll also honor this for any app purchase close to this time frame. You can claim this promotion here.
“When will the Android version be ready?”
We were ready to release the Android version on September 10 along with the Apple version until we realized there was an issue with the subscription button. Not knowing that it was an Apple-specific issue, we decided to hold off until we had that issue resolved. We have had on offline use bug that has come up recently, and so we’ve held off on the Android release until we’re 100% sure it’s functional. Given the timing with what’s left of the archery elk season, we’ll hold the Android release until October 1.
“A little heads up would have been nice, yeah?”
Prior to this update, which as discussed above gives us the ability to now collect email addresses from users for better communication, we did not have a reliable medium to contact customers.
The old version of the app did not have a reliable mechanism to send messages, but we tried by adding a link in the products section below each elk sound, sequence and tactic on the app announcing the impending update. We also emailed our mailing list, which was based on Paul’s email list when we started working together and our efforts at Got Game Tech over the years. It’s a decent list, but even if everyone on it were an ElkNut app user, which is not the case, it would only have reached about 30% of our app users. We also posted on social media and answered questions as they came up, but many of our app users are not on social media consistently enough to get the message. As a result, this update caught many of you by surprise, some of you in the mountains on hunts, or preparing to do so. We’re very sorry for that and hope we can leverage this new version of the app to better communicate with you.
“How do I get the app working again?”
If you are having trouble subscribing to the ElkNut app, here are some general suggestions to keep in mind.
1. You need to create a new account with Got Game Tech. This is not based on your Apple ID or Play Store email address. As a result, if you have not subscribed yet, you need to click on “Sign Up” rather than “Sign In” and enter your email address and choose your password.
2. If you have recently purchased the ElkNut app, here is the form you fill out to claim your free year. You will need to wait until you get an email back from us with instructions on how to apply your coupon code before continuing to subscribe. I’ve been trying diligently to stay on top of these and respond same day (usually within a couple of hours). If you have submitted the form and not received a reply in 24 hours, please check your junk/spam folder.
3. If you are not a new app user, and you sign up through the App Store for the subscription, you will automatically receive the $7.49 deal. If you instead register through Stripe, which is what we had to do when the App Store subscription button was down, you can use the code ELKNUTOG to claim your discount.
4. You can access the app Home Screen without a subscription, but the rest of the content is locked. To finish subscribing after you log in, you will need to go to the app menu in the upper right hand corner, then select Account. From that page you’ll be able to click on the Subscribe button.
5. Here is a helpful article that discusses the new download page and how you can best use that.
6. For all other technical challenges, please send me an email at email@example.com. I will either respond or direct you to another team member if I’m unavailable (I do hope to get some elk hunting in sometime this month).
Hopefully this addresses some of your concerns with the app update and helps you understand the extent and the timing of it all. We are sorry for the headache that this update has caused many of you. Our goal is to provide a valuable elk calling tool that helps you find more success in the elk woods, and we hope to rebuild any trust, confidence or respect that has been called in to question by this app update. If you have further questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Best of luck to you in this and future elk seasons!