Rural Success Stories
Rural Success Stories
Home | View all Success Stories
Producing trophy bucks is goal of Oxford entrepreneur
Nothing thrills a deer hunter more than a trophy buck with a massive rack of thick, sturdy antlers. But when winters are hard and feed is scarce, nutrition is compromised and bucks grow undersized antlers while does birth weak, undernourished fawns in the spring.
Rich Carpenter recounts a hunting trip and the moment this realization led to the founding of a new company in Oxford: “A harsh winter had set in and a small buck came by my post. It looked thin, and as I watched it chew on a dried oak leaf for sustenance, I realized that during the scarce times of winter, the health of wildlife is seriously compromised.”
Carpenter’s business plan unfolded from that moment and today he is mixing, packaging and marketing a high-protein feed for deer made from locally-sourced corn, soy beans and oats. Called Feed the Bone, the product also contains a blend of minerals, vitamins and electrolytes.
Carpenter’s experience and research tells him that feeding deer through the hard days of winter not only stimulates the growth of big antlers, but also contributes to the overall health of the animals. Carpenter’s company, Double Lung Outdoors, has created two supplements, Massive 40 Bone Builder and Massive 40 Protein Pack, which he says aids in maximum bone, muscle and antler development.
“With multiple-grain products, 26 essential vitamins and minerals, electrolytes, and a powerful attractant this supplement offers wildlife the optimal nutrition they need at an affordable price for the costumer,” Carpenter said.
A growing market
Carpenter’s supplements are used by sportsman, outfitters, and deer farmers who want healthier wildlife. A typical customer manages a business that invests in healthy deer and large bucks with impressive racks, such as the many hunting preserves starting up in rural areas of Nebraska and elsewhere. Owners of hunting lodges and outfitters also often feed their wildlife during the harsh winter months.
To help his customers visualize the efficacy of Feed the Bone, Carpenter often installs trail cameras to film the deer eating the Feed the Bone grain product.
“My customers are surprised at the variety of wildlife that feed on the grains in addition to the deer,” he said.
A life in animal nutrition
Carpenter’s interest and expertise in animal nutrition is derived from his 38-year career as plant manager for Merrick’s Inc., a Wisconsin-based animal feed producer with a subsidiary plant in Oxford, Nebraska. The company manufactures milk protein and fat products for baby animals worldwide.
Feed the Bone is ground, mixed, weighed and packaged on the outskirts of Oxford. Carpenter purchases high-quality grain from local farmers and the local coop. A mixer blends the grain, and he adds the vitamin, minerals, electrolytes and flavor supplements. The nutritional quality of the product has been tested at Ward’s Lab in Kearney, and the research found that the quality of nutrition is as claimed and digestibility is 80%.
Marketing and shipping the product are among the challenges for the business. Carpenter and his sons market the deer food at three shows: the Nebraska Big Buck Classic, the Iowa Deer Classic, and the Amish Deer Farming show in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The product also is also marketed on the company’s website, www.feedthebone.com.
To lower the cost of shipping, Carpenter is actively seeking distributors who can sell the product from locations closer to his customers.
“We are contacting small sporting goods stores to handle the product, and looking for distributors in Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Texas and South Dakota,” Carpenter says.
A rewarding business
Although Double Lung Outdoor is young and still finding its way, to Rich Carpenter, being outdoors surrounded by the great trees along the Republican River and close to a wide variety of wildlife is immensely rewarding.
“I am a hunter, and I believe in harvesting deer for the health of the herd and to lessen the deer’s impact on crops in the field and on the highways, but I respect all wildlife. I carry a camera on my hunts and when I’m sitting in the blind, I see turkeys, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and a variety of birds that stay through the winter. I enjoy watching the wildlife as much as hunting the deer.”