As my legs start to turn to Jell-O, the sweat rolls off the end of my nose like the condensation on a large glass of sweet tea in the summer heat. I decide to push through one more thicket on the side of the steep, briar covered mountain in the hopes that all of my hard work would not be in vain. I am looking for that perfect spot where all of the deer trails intersect, where the old rubs and scrapes are plentiful, and the straightest tree with just the right amount of cover to hide me from the scanning eyes of that monster buck.
As the last briar pulls at my clothes and I step into the opening on a nice little flat…..I find what I am looking for. This spot has everything that I had hoped for. After an hour of trying to get my hang on stand positioned perfectly, I am finally finished. As I start to pack my gear I know there is only one task to complete…..make my mock scrape. As I start to scan the area I realize my perfect spot is missing one key ingredient. There is no suitable “licking” branch to start the mock scrape process.
In today’s whitetail world, bowhunters are constantly searching for that next item that will increase their odds of success.
It always seems no matter how hard we scout and no matter how perfect the area, there is always just that one component missing. Luckily for me, I remembered a product that I had seen at one of the recent outdoor shows that could solve this problem. It was called the Lick’n Branch by Whitetail’R. It was one of those products that was just so simple but could make all of the difference in my newly found area. Recently, I decided to give Scott Matheson, one of the owners of Whitetail’R, a call to find out more about his products and his company.
Q: Tell me how you got started in this business?
A: In 2009, my brother and I sat down and started talking about business and different opportunities. We talked about how cool it would be to initiate an archery company that would encompass everybody. If you are a Whitetail’R you are one of us regardless of where you are from. We wanted to build a culture around that idea and in turn create products. Over the years we have met some very good, everyday archers that had come up with good solutions to problems we all had. We helped turn those ideas into quality products. It’s our way to give back to the industry and try to develop products that will make a difference. These are not just normal products either. Our products are radically different.
Brothers Scott and Chris Matheson take a different approach to how they run their business; one that focuses primarily on the customer’s needs and wants.
Q: What is your background?
A: In the late 70s, I started out as an independent dealer in Madison, WI. I have spent 30+ years in the industry; the majority of which was in retail. I was fortunate enough to be the first designated retail buyer for Gander Mountain in the late 80s. From there, I went on to develop a whole team of buyers and merchants for them.
Q: Tell me a little about product development.
A: A lot of our products are conceived through personal experiences amongst our best friends and customers and by listening to problems that they are trying to resolve. As a result, we try to come up with different solutions to these issues or problems. Basically, that is the core of what we do. It’s an endless search for perfection.
Once a product has been conceived and actually manufactured, it ends up here (the packing area) before it heads out to a customer.
Q: What product are you most proud of and why?
A: The newest product, the Lick’N Branch Kit, gets my vote and the reason is simple….I know that it works and is hands down the best item we have ever built. Once bow hunters try it, they will be shocked by the volume and how frequently they will be visited by whitetails. It’s lightweight, easy to transport, and requires only three easy steps to setup. Every bow hunter can do it.
The Lick’N Branch™ system comes with an 8ft telescopic pole, a bottle of LimbSTARTER™ attractant, a pair of SafeGLOV™ odor free gloves, and exclusive SwellWICK™ scent wicks. Combined, these allow bowhunters to condition bucks to visit certain areas to establish and maintain scrapes.
Q: Since you mentioned the Lick’N Branch, what can bowhunters do to find success while using this product?
A: Start them early. Use scent free gloves when working with the branch itself. Recognize, it’s a good thing to kick start the branch with an attractant or scents early. Do not over visit the site. Instead, let your trail cameras tell you the story of what is going on, and make sure you are using a branch that will last for the entire season. You have to remember that deer are rough on these branches. We have had the best luck here in the Midwest with oak and Fruit bearing limbs because of their durability.
Q: What do you think makes your company different than other companies in the hunting industry?
A: We take the time listen to our fellow hunters. We want to hear what issues hunters are experiencing to see if we may be able to come up with a solution. Our company is always going to be about the customer. We aren’t afraid to take risks and bring new and different products to the market. That being said; until we know a product works, we won’t bring it to the public.
Shown here is the product assembly area of the company. While every company struggles, Scott Matheson believes that struggles come with growth and he is alright with that.
Q: When starting the business, what were the largest obstacles you had to overcome and how did you overcome them?
A: Likely, we will never overcome all of them, and I hope we never do. I have always felt that you have problems in business because you are growing and trying to create a better business. Starting out our major problem was having enough quality items to hold the consumer’s attention. We needed to have entry level products that were simple, yet still have strong technical products. From our experience we felt that products based on the olfactory system of a whitetail was going to be the key to our success.
Q: If you could change one thing about your company, what would it be?
A: I would have started it earlier. I started out in my career working for other people and I can say that I really did well. As I got older I realized how much opportunity was out there and realized that we live in the greatest country for entrepreneurs in the world. I wish I would have started this company when I was thirty years old.
Q: What is one thing the general public doesn’t know about your company, but that you feel they should know?
A: Our customers can call us anytime they want. We will listen to any issues or problems our customers are having. We are every archer’s archery company. We aren’t a flash in the pan kind of company. We are real people; we are all Whitetailer’s at heart. We take our customer service very seriously and want to make sure everyone is completely satisfied with every product we make.
The folks at Whitetail’R use the same products that they sell to their customers. In fact, much of their inspiration for new ideas comes from trying to solve existing problems that customers have expressed concern about.
Q: Why should hunters buy your product?
A: Everything we do makes a difference. Take for instance, something as simple as a scent wick. The problem with some scent wicks is that they don’t absorb enough attractant for an all-day sit because they are made out of hydrophobic material. We created the SwellWICK™ which is made out of hydrophilic material. This product will absorb scent and swell up to 300 percent of its original size to create a bloated, scent pod that pulls bucks in from great distances all day long. It’s the little differences that make the biggest difference. We try to make products that solve issues for hunters. That is why I feel people should take a look at our products before making a decision.
Q: What one thing would you change about the hunting industry?
A: I would make sure that no one forgets about the fun involved in hunting. Take the time to introduce kids and youth to our sport, and make sure they have fun while doing it. I do not feel that we are all doing that enough these days.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Check out our website www.whitetailr.com and, watch the video. It will provide insight into our culture. We want everyone to have a good experience. We feel the Science behind our products will make a huge difference in your hunting experience.