CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) It's right there on your computer: a live video of deer doing one of their favorite things, eating.
Western Michigan deer ranch operator Drew Born is hoping that thousands of people will sign up for his new website with its real-time video stream and archived deer footage.
"There are 19 million hunters in the U.S. who fit into our target market," Born, 20, told The Grand Rapids Press.
"They have a passion for deer, but the only time they see deer is when they're out hunting in the fall. Now, they can watch them 24/7."
The video feeds come from the Whitehouse Whitetails deer ranch in Muskegon County's Casnovia Township. Hundreds of trophy bucks roam the 145-acre deer preserve, and Born has set up cameras to show them eating, sleeping, playing and fighting. The site also has archived video and still photos.
An initial rush of interest in the website generated by a story in the Grand Rapids Press on Wednesday crashed the site for about 30 minutes.
Born said he has been around deer since he was a young boy and that he created a reserve at age 15. He said the website has grown out of his effort to create a business that continues beyond deer season.
"You have to find a way to make money throughout the year," he told The Associated Press on Thursday. He said he plans to generate revenue through advertising, and that registration for the website is free.
Born said he plans to expand the site's offerings in 2011.
"We're looking at the website developing over time, expanding the viewer base and adding things like actual hunts, archived videos and still photos," he said.
Area sportsman Dusten Wells said it's a pleasure to watch the deer on the site.
"You don't usually get to see the caliber of deer you will see on the website just walking through the woods," said Wells, a Newaygo resident and an earlier subscriber.
"I get on the site every couple of days for 15 or 20 minutes. (The deer) don't look at the camera. It's just deer out there sleeping, eating and sometimes fighting. It's sure beats nature films."