pocket ranger email announcements

As the summer winds down, we’re sure you, our active users, have plenty of autumn adventures in store! With Pocket Ranger® email announcements, you’ll be able to easily plan your outings and stay in the loop on the latest outdoor-related news, gear reviews, seasonal tips, rules and regulations updates, contests and more. Of course, you can choose to opt-out of receiving these limited messages, but with so much fall fun right around the corner, we hope you’ll elect to stay in the know about the latest outdoor happenings.

Categories: *Welcome!, September 2013 | Comments Off on

Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® is Here!



We are thrilled to announce that our new photo/video-sharing app, Pocket Ranger Trophy Case®, has made its long-awaited debut! This latest addition to our Pocket Ranger® family was developed exclusively for anglers, hunters, wildlife viewers and outdoor enthusiasts. The app unites active adventurers like never before. It offers a place to connect by sharing photos, videos, comments and tips. Users can even engage in friendly competition through various challenges and award trophies to each other for their accomplishments. Best of all, the app is available free to download for iOS and Android.

The first step in exposing your side of nature with Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® is to register and create a profile either through the app, on Pocket Ranger eXchange, or by logging in with Facebook. Then, you’ll be able to find and follow new friends to show up on your feed, upload photos/videos of your bags, catches or sightings, and leave comments and award trophies to your fellow users. The more active you get with participation, the more points you’ll earn and the higher your ranking will soar on the Leaderboard, where you will easily be able to track your progress and follow trophy seekers.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about uniting likeminded outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, and we suspect you’re happy about it too!

Categories: Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® is Here!, September 2013 | Comments Off on

Photo Contest to Celebrate Launch of Pocket Ranger Trophy Case®

 pocket ranger photo contest

As if the launch of Pocket Ranger® Trophy Case weren’t exciting enough, we’re also offering you the chance to win a GoPro HD Hero2 Camera with our Trophy Case Photo Contest! Whether you’ve been snapping photos all summer long or just need a bit of inspiration, get out there and capture autumn’s beauty in all its glory. Entering the contest couldn’t be easier. Simply download the FREE app, create a user profile, and upload your original photo or photos. Take a screenshot of your favorite photo while open in the Trophy Case® app, and when the contest starts on September 3rd upload it here from your mobile device. If you’d like to submit your photo from a desktop or laptop, be sure to email the screenshot to yourself from your phone, and download it to your computer. Then, upload your photo, where your friends and family can vote for you! Click here for more details, and to get one step closer to owning your very own GoPro!

Categories: Photo Contest to Celebrate Launch of Pocket Ranger Trophy Case®, September 2013 | Tags: | Comments Off on

3-in-1 Explore Feature Just in Time for Fall


3-in-1 search

Our last big update brought you GeoChallenges, which were the outdoor hit of the summer. We have been hard at work preparing even more great benefits to aid your outdoor explorations, and we’re proud to announce that our hotly anticipated (and much requested!) 3-in-1 Explore search feature is finally here.

We have long offered plenty of different ways to locate destinations with the Places Near Me, By Activity, By Region and By Category search options. With the new Explore feature, you can now search these categories at the same time. Want to find a state park near you that offers hiking and camping? Done! Looking for a historic site on the other side of the state where you can enjoy a picnic? Bingo bango!

What’s more, you can now search by park name and zip code. Perhaps you’ve already got a location in mind. Simply type the name right in and viola! You’ll have all the park’s essential information right there at your fingertips. Don’t feel like sifting through all of the search results when you search for nearby parks? Narrow it down even more with a zip code search.  With the Explore search function, there are more ways than ever to easily locate the perfect recreation destination in the great outdoors.

Your suggestions continually inspire us to add even more improvements to our apps, so please keep them coming by emailing us at suggestions@parksbynature.com.


Updated 2013-2014 Fishing and Hunting Rules & Regulations Are Here


hunting and fishing rules and regs

With the changing seasons come changing fishing and hunting rules and regulations. We have been hard at work keeping track of all the various changes for the 2013-2014 season and updating our Georgia, Nebraska, New Jersey Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Guides to reflect the new rules and regulations. Of course, we have also ensured that the information in our upcoming Alabama Fishing & Hunting Guide is current as well! For the nitty gritty details on all of the changes for the 2013-2014 season, visit our blog.

Categories: Features Enhancements and Updates, September 2013 | Comments Off on

Welcome to the Family:


pocket ranger family

Our Pocket Ranger® family continues to grow! You will be able to explore even more parks this fall, Pocket Ranger®-style, with the newly released Official Friends of Westchester County Parks Recreational Guide and the upcoming New Hampshire Parks & Recreation Guide. These apps are equipped with standard Pocket Ranger® features – advanced GPS mapping technology, a 3-in-1 Explore feature, Friend Finder, Calendar of Events, park maps and photos, social network sharing, and more – so you will be able to explore Westchester County’s bountiful recreational opportunities and New Hampshire’s forested mountaintops, scenic trails and snowy slopes like never before!

We are also very close to releasing our Alabama Fishing & Hunting Guide. Designed with hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts in mind, the app puts essential outdoor information in the palm of your hand, including on-the-spot species profiles, weather forecasts and alerts, maps, rules, regulations and permits/licensing details. Advanced GPS technology will help you locate fishing, hunting and wildlife sites, and then navigate them once you’re there with trail tracking and recording and photo waypoints to keep track of wildlife sightings.

Even more Pocket Ranger® apps are just around the corner. We’ve been developing additional Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Guides for South Carolina and Rhode Island, and there’s an Oregon Fishing Map Guide on the way as well! Whether you’re dreaming about sinking a line, enjoying a hunt, or simply exploring the wilderness, you’ll be able to do that – and more – with these latest Pocket Ranger® apps.


New States Enrolled:


new states

While the leaves are falling this autumn, more State Parks and Fish & Wildlife agencies are falling too… in line to develop a Pocket Ranger® app, that is! We’re excited to announce that we contracted to put into queue new apps for Alabama State Parks and Connecticut Fish and Wildlife. We have long had a Pocket Ranger® app for Connecticut State Parks, and now the state’s anglers, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts will have an app of their very own. Moreover, the Alabama State Parks Pocket Ranger® app will come hot on the heels of the Alabama Fishing & Hunting Guide’s release. We’re thrilled to be creating even more ways for you to enjoy these states’ great outdoors. Of course, we’ll keep you posted as these apps approach their launch dates!

Categories: Pocket Ranger Network Growth, September 2013 | Comments Off on

5 Hook and Cook Fish Recipes


There’s no doubt that a relaxing day spent sinking a line is one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. The best part of it all? Eating what we catch! We’re always on the hunt for new ways to cook what we hook, and these 5 recipes fit the bill. The next time you reel in an impressive fish and are wondering how to enjoy it at the campsite, why not give one of these easy and delicious Hook and Cook recipes a shot?

Perfect Grilled Whole Fish

Courtesy of Jonathan Miles at FieldAndStream.com

Image: www.fieldandstream.com
Image: www.fieldandstream.com


  • 1 whole fish, scaled and gutted, up to around 2 lb. (snapper, bass, trout, flounder, striped bass, and bluefish work best)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the grill on high. Once the grates are hot, turn down to medium. If using charcoal, simply rake the coals to ensure an even layer of heat. Clean the grill with a wire brush.
  2. Make three diagonal cuts in each side of the fish, straight to the bone. Rub both sides of the fish with the oil, then salt and pepper it.
  3. Lay the fish on the grill, uncovered, and leave alone. After 5 minutes, use tongs to gently pry the fish from the grates to ease it free from any sticky spots. Set it back down and leave alone for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Slide a long-handled spatula beneath the fish’s heaviest section and gently roll it over.
  5. Continue cooking for up to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. To check for doneness, use a knife to probe the diagonal cuts you made in the flesh. The meat should look opaque. Gently place the fish on a platter, squeeze some lemon juice onto it, and serve.

Poor Man’s Lobster

Courtesy of FishNews Blog at FishingRSSFeeds.com


  • Burbot, cut in chunks
  • 2 quarts water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Melted butter and lemon juice for dipping


  1. Combine water, salt, sugar and lemon juice in large pot.
  2. Bring pot to boil.
  3. Drop in the burbot and boil, just until fish rises to the surface.
  4. Serve with melted butter and lemon juice.

TIP: Leftovers make a great “lobster” salad!

Trout with Mustard Sauce

Courtesy of Kelly Bastone at Backpacker.com

Image: www.backpacker.com
Image: www.backpacker.com


  • 1 package McCormick Hollandaise sauce mix
  • ¼ cup butter (or 4 tbsp. olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 trout fillets


  1. Heat oil in pan until sizzling.
  2. Cook fish until flesh is flaky.
  3. To make sauce, fork-whisk water, butter (or olive oil), and contents of sauce packet.
  4. Add mustard and tarragon and bring to a boil.
  5. Pour over trout.

TIP: Flavored rice makes a great side dish for trout.

Carp Stew

Courtesy of BassOnHook.com


  • 4 pounds carp
  • ¼ pound bacon
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar


  1. Fry bacon in a Dutch oven or small kettle until crisp.
  2. Add other ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

Easy Grilled Fish in Foil Packets

Courtesy of Gina at SkinnyTaste.com

Image: www.skinnytaste.com
Image: www.skinnytaste.com


  • 4 porgy fillets, about 5 oz. each
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano)
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 4 large pieces heavy duty aluminum foil, about 18 to 20 inches long


  1. Place the fish in the center of the foil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Place a slice of lemon on top of each piece of fish, then a sprig of herbs on each.
  3. Fold up the edges so that it’s completely sealed and no steam will escape, creating a loose tent.
  4. Heat half of the grill (on one side) on high heat with the cover closed.
  5. When the grill is hot, place the foil packets on the side of the grill with the burners off (indirect heat) and close the grill.
  6. Depending on the thickness of your fish, cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through.



Camping Games You Can Make—While Camping

Camping is loads of fun. For starters, you get to go hiking and go on a GeoChallenge, there are all kinds of wildlife to see (hopefully not in your tent), refreshing lakes for swimming and fishing, s’mores galore, and you get to sleep in a tent. Let us repeat…you get to sleep in a tent. Maybe you’re even lucky enough to get to sleep in a hanging tent! You see, we think camping is so much fun that we find it very hard to believe that anyone might utter those dreaded words, “I’m bored” while on a camping trip, yet we pondered if this was truly possible and we came to the conclusion that in fact it is.

Here are some scenarios when it’s slightly acceptable to say, “I’m bored” while in the great outdoors.

  • You’re a kid with lots of energy and Mom and Dad are still in a coma from yesterday’s 30-mile hike, so now it’s just a waiting game.
  • You’re a kid with lots of energy and you’re forbidden from venturing outside of your campsite while Mom and Dad are preparing dinner.

We really couldn’t think of any more reasons, since we think camping really is that much fun. But here is our share of remedies, whether you’re the one in desperate need of entertainment or you feel the need to supply it. Yep, you guessed it, games. These games can be whipped up in no time using materials right from your own campsite because you never know when you’ll get a bad case of boredom.



Mancala has been curing boredom since ancient times. This game usually includes a wooden game board with pits carved for dropping and collecting marbles. Of course, we don’t recommend chopping down a tree and carving away. Instead, grab that egg carton from this morning’s breakfast and start collecting pebbles—48 to be exact. You’ll also need two cups. The object of the game is to collect the most pebbles.

Set up the game by grabbing a partner and placing the gameboard between both players. Put a cup on either end (the one to your right belongs to you.) Place four pebbles in each of the eggcups. The row closest to you is yours.

To play, one player collects all the pebbles from any one of his/her eggcups. Next, drop one pebble into each eggcup going counter clockwise, including your main cup if there are enough pebbles to go past it; however, skip your opponent’s main cup. If your last pebble ends up in your main cup, congrats, you get to take another turn!

If the last pebble you place lands in an empty eggcup that’s on your side of the board, you get to keep that pebble, along with all of your opponent’s pebbles that are in the opposite eggcup. Put them all in your main cup. Your opponent goes next. The game ends when an entire row of eggcups is empty of pebbles. The other player takes the remaining pebbles in the eggcups and places them in his/her main cup. Count your pebbles to see who won.

Can Toss Game


This game requires a lot less effort to set up. Collect all the cans you can find from all the canned food you’ve eaten on this trip—corn, carrots, pork and beans, SpaghettiO’s, etc. If you’ve become friendly with your camping neighbors, maybe they can help. Either way, we highly discourage the use of cans that are still filled, since food is a high commodity whenever you go camping, not to mention how much harder it would be to play this game.

Simply put, stack the cans into a pyramid on the ground or on your picnic table. Use a beanbag, if you have one, to knock down as many cans as you can. We’re guessing you probably don’t have a beanbag handy, so if you have a pair of socks, ahem…clean socks, then roll them up into a ball and it’ll work just as well. Use a marker and assign points to each can if you’d like.

Rock Toss Game


We’re back to collecting rocks for this game. You’ll need 2 to 3 medium sized rocks for each player. Avoid confusion by assigning a different shade of rock for each player. You’ll also need a much larger rock about a foot wide if you can spot one. This should be sturdy enough so that it won’t budge when the smaller rocks smack up against it. This will act as your target.

To play the game, place the large rock in an open area away from other campers, poison ivy, and your tent, too! Take a stick and place it 8 to 12 feet away from the rock. Each player takes turns standing behind the stick and tossing a rock as close to the target as you can get.

After tossing all the rocks, check to see which one came the closest to the target. If you like, you can assign points to different areas around the rock. Accumulate points as you play several rounds. Go ahead and make it more challenging by moving the stick farther away, too!

Still bored? Check out these camping games with even fewer supplies needed from nature. While you’re there, subscribe to our blog to get the latest on news, articles, and contest announcements!



Trivia Question Answer: 

Beware of an almond scent when selecting plants or berries to eat in the great outdoors. An almond-like odor can suggest the presence of cyanide, meaning the plant is likely toxic.

Categories: Outdoor Hints & Tips From Our Blog, September 2013 | Comments Off on