Press Room > Northwest
Neighbors Article September 23, 2005
In The News
Northwest Neighbors September 23, 2005
Hunters turning to local Website to find quarry
BY SETH BROMLEY Staff Reporter
BURRILLVILLE - After nearly two years as a cyberspace hangout for
Rhode Island hunters, the Web site RIHunts.com is still gaining fans
and building its content.
Designed and operated by Burrillville resident Mark Mingain, the site
went online in November, 2003. As this year's season gets underway,
Mingain is working to further expand the site's capabilities as more
and more hunters have found their way to it.
According to Mingain's statistics, RIHunts is now averaging 5,600
visitors a month, and the total number of visits since the site began
is now 86.000.
"In the past two years the site has come along way and has grown quite
a bit," Mingain said. 'It's doing extraordinarily well."
One of the most popular additions to the site is the “nature cam,” a
digital video camera that Mingain has mounted in a wildlife-rich area
in the woods near his home, and which supplies continuous feed to the
site, 24 hours a day.
“People like the idea that they can see live deer in the wild while
they're sitting at their desk
at work," Mingain said. “We added that last fall.”
Another popular and interactive section of the site is the photo
gallery, on which users can upload and share their own pictures.
Mingain has also worked to acquire more content from other local
hunting authorities and enthusiasts.
"I have worked with a gentleman who has developed calendars that show
peak game movement times,” said Mingain. By accessing the calendars on
the site, hunters can time their hunting trips to coincide with the
times that their quarry are most likely to be moving around.
Mingain is also partnering with the New England Big Buck Club, which
provides the site with hunting articles of local interest.
“I’ve had a good relationship with them,” Mingain said.
Rihunts has also continued to provide lots or practical information
for area hunters, including maps of Rhode Island's wildlife management
areas and a calendar that informs visitors of upcoming events.
Mingain's goal when starting the site was to make it akin to
“one-stop shopping” for web users looking for hunting information. He
keeps readers up to date with daily links to DEM announcements, and his
links section points the way to more than a hundred other Internet
Nearly two years after he began working on the site, Mingain said tie
has finally gotten to the point where he is content to go a few days
at a time without tinkering with it. With participation of the site’s
user forums increasing, much of the site’s day-to-day activity comes
from the visitors interacting with each other.
“The user forums are one of the best hooks of the site,” Mingain said.
“Right now the users are talking about where they have gone and had
success scouting deer.”
Although he has server statistics to show the number of hits the site
receives, Mingain didn’t know for sure if his work was finding a
receptive audience until he traveled to the Southern New England
Sportsmen’s Show, where he had the pleasure of meeting some of his
sites fans in person.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. "I finally got to meet some of the
people that use the site, talk hunting with them, and get
Spurred by the success of RIHunts, Mingain has started work on a
companion site. RideInRI.com, an online resource for motorcyclists.
That site lists links and information about local cycling clubs and
posts frequently updated schedules for rides and bike nights in
southern New England.
Despite his new venture, Mingain is still working to update RIHunts.
He is authoring a weekly newsletter that he sends out to several
People can also sign up to receive "e-alerts." which Mingain sends out
whenever he learns of a hunting-related news item or announcement. To
allow for more user activity, he has added a chat roam and a team
speak server to the main site. Users can log in to either one to
communicate directly with one another.
Mingain said that as technology and connectivity move forward, he will
continue to bring more options to the site.
"I try to give the users whatever I can. and then let them decide if
they want to make use of it," he said.
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