Boise State students design virtual reality program to walk hunters through field dressing

Boise State students design virtual reality program to walk hunters through field dressing
Posted at 1:04 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 15:06:03-04

BOISE — Welcome to hunting 101, in a virtual environment that is.

Students at Boise State are navigating hunters through the proper steps to field dressing, all in virtual reality.

“I used a mix of real steak pictures I found and other good quality meat things to get it to look as realistic as I could," said GIMM student Dakota Kimble.

Idaho Fish and Game says there isn’t an interactive way to teach big game field dressing, which can be intimidating to new hunters out in nature. The students' work addresses that need.

“Getting on the ground you’re moving around you’re crouching around the animal you’re following the cuts, its very hands-on and you’re developing that muscle memory that you wouldn’t develop if you’re watching a video," said spokesperson for Idaho Fish and Game Brian Pearson.

The simulation is as real as it can get in the digital space. The students even saw how field dressing works in real life to perfect the virtual version.

“That's actually what the sound effects of the cutting are from," said Kimble, "I didn’t handle it as well as Brennon did, I was a little woozy a couple of times."

They’re also trying things out in the VR space that haven’t been done before.

“I was the one who modeled the elk and eventually I was tasked with starting to design the skinning process, and it took a while to really decide how I wanted to do it, because this kind of thing didn’t really exist yet, like using VR to skin animals isn’t something I could just look up online and find out how to do," said GIMM student Brennon Leman.

The game will be used in the required hunter education program to get hunters ready for the action.

“It's essentially going to equip you with the tools to be a safe, ethical hunter," said Pearson.

The VR experience will be used in the spring in Idaho Fish and Game’s hunter education program along with 11 other state’s education programs. It’s also available for free online here.