Doc's Deer Products, the Cortland-based deer scent and attractant maker, recently made a big move in the industry by signing an agreement with Browning, the international firearms company.
"They've been looking to get into the scent business," said Keith "Doc" Ainsley, owner of Doc's. By signing an agreement with Browning, Ainsley said he gets access to all of the company's marketing prowess as well as entry into markets he probably would not be able to enter into.
"With Browning, we could go overseas even," he said.
Ainsley will keep control and full ownership of Doc's, which he started in 1998, but the name will change, slightly. Instead of the familiar Doc's products, such as Doc's Double Doe, new labeling will identify the product as Browning/Doc's.
He is very excited at the prospects of the partnership and said his Cortland company -- which now employs four full-time and seven part-time workers -- could "see a significant increase in employment" by virtue of the partnership.
Browning became interested in Doc's because of the clear yellow color the company's product maintains. Doc's has one of the most sophisticated deer urine collection systems in the industry. Ainsley said that many companies don't adhere to strict cleanliness standards. The result is that you get brown or black urine, which can stain clothes and may not be as effective in attracting deer.
"Ours stays yellow under seal," he said. Mainstays of Doc's collection process are temperature controls and strict cleanliness guidelines. "Our basis is cleanliness and our collection material," he said. Stainless-steel collection troughs are used and cleaned constantly to maintain high levels.
A look in the collection and bottling buildings also shows workers dressed as if they were in a NASA clean room instead of what is basically a country farm setting.
"People laugh at us when they see us in those buildings," he said. "But we get results. You have to go to extremes to collect and protect the product."
Doc's products -- including a variety of urines in liquid and gel form, cover scents, clothes washes, stealth sprays, scent pads and clothing -- are available at many area sporting goods stores, such as Gander Mountain, Dick's and Chip's.
Doc's sells only current-season urine collected from the 100 or so deer at the company's Cortland facility and buys back unsold urine at the end of the season, repackaging it for other companies under a different label. Needless to say, there is a big demand for Doc's urine, even the "old" stock -- Ainsley said he has resold about 2,000 gallons this year alone.
Plans that Ainsley has for Doc's include a line of mule deer and elk scents, possibly a local television show based on deer hunting, and even opening up Doc's Cortland-area deer farm to limited public viewing.
-- Mike Braun