Chattanooga Times

Tndeer.com worldwide hunters link

November, 21 2001

By Dan Cook ~ danc@timesfreepress.com

When Harrison software designer Dave Jolley was thinking about starting a Web site just for deer hunters four years ago, he discovered that someone had created one a few days earlier. Dennis Goldsby of Atoka, Tenn., near Memphis, had beaten him to it — having started a site on July 14, 1998 — but that was fine with Jolley. Jolley made contact and the two became friends and hunting partners. Since then, other hunters have experienced a similar connection through Tndeer.com, a site with free access to anyone with a computer connected to the information highway.

Tndeer.com has become a way to discuss related issues, find new places to hunt and enjoy the fellowship and food at an annual wild-game potluck dinner held for those who have clicked onto the site. "We call this the ‘Vous,’ which is short for rendezvous," Jolley said about the gathering.

About 125 people attended last year’s dinner at Nashville’s Ellington Agricultural Center, headquarters of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Two of the diners were Canadian hunters who brought something special for two Tennessee hunters they had met online. "We’ve got some hunters from Canada who regularly post on the site," Jolley said. "Last year, two of our guys went up and hunted with them, killing a couple of moose, but weren’t able to bring the horns back home with them at the time. So the Canadians came down for ‘Vous’ and brought the horns. "The people you meet are some of the classiest people you’d ever want to meet — just fine individuals."

Tndeer.com has recorded as many as 40,000 hits in a single day, although the average for each month during hunting season is 65,000-75,000, Jolley said. The site recently passed the million mark for hits since its inception. "It’s pretty slick when you can get hits from around the world," Jolley said. "A lot of the hunters have become very good friends. We’ve got one guy named ‘Muff’ who lives in Louisiana. He recently came to Tennessee for a week to hunt in one of three Tndeer hunt clubs."

Those clubs have no direct affiliation with the online service, he said, but grew out of the Tndeer.com interest. Dennis Goldsby and Dave Jolley do most of the programming and much of the layout on the free site. "We call Dennis the CEO," Jolley said.

"We’ve got about six guys spread all over the state who regularly contribute to it. There’s no charge at all. We sell ads strictly to pay for the cost of doing the site."