Home Back Issues February 2011 Startup develops high tech hunting suit

Startup develops high tech hunting suit

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011

 

0211_HECS
HECS hunting suits are designed to outwit the "sixth sense" that helps prey animals identify danger and flee. // Photo courtesy HECS

Mike Slinkard was born and raised in John Day, and like most of his peers he went straight from high school to a job in the woods. Those jobs didn’t last. Rather than cling to what was left of the local timber industry, Slinkard turned his passion for bow hunting into his livelihood.

He started with a shop in town. Then in 2000 he launched Winner’s Choice Custom Bow Strings, which has grown to $3 million in annual sales and 38 employees. His latest venture is Human Energy Concealment Systems, an apparel company focused on blocking the electromagnetic field emitted by the human body.

The idea came from a conversation with employee and fellow bow hunter Max Maupin about the “sixth sense” that enables prey animals to escape danger. Maupin put his degree in animal science to work and tracked down a study that showed how cud-chewing animals respond to minor changes in electromagnetic fields as a survival mechanism.

Slinkard and Maupin designed a hunting suit with electricity-conducting carbon woven into a grid to block the electromagnetic field (prices start at $149). A partnership with a New Zealand fabric company and a Taiwanese factory followed, and they released their HECS hunting suit at a national archery trade show in Columbus, Ohio, in 2010.

Slinkard promoted the product with full-page ads in archery publications and television spots on outdoor channels. Sales started slow, then picked up with the fall hunting season. Returning to this year’s archery show, Slinkard found reviews were positive. “We still have some skeptics, but they aren’t people who have tried it,” he says.

Slinkard, 45, imports the hunting suits fully made and ships them to market from John Day. But he may manufacture locally if his other ideas take off. The company has five patents pending, one of which covers wetsuits for diving and surfing, to protect people from sharks. He also has an agreement with a Virginia Beach-based company to handle military contracts (think Navy Seals).

If he can land a military contract, “Buy American” requirements would bring new jobs to Grant County, where unemployment is 14.3% and Slinkard is one of just two tenants at the John Day Industrial Park.

“It’s going to be a worldwide company,” he predicts. “There’s no doubt about it.”

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
14BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.

Pride in their organizations’ mission, fairness in the treatment of women and ethnic minorities, flexible work schedules — these are just a handful of workplace characteristics that employees of this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits appreciate about their organizations.


Read more...

Books Rule

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JON BELL

Powell's stays relevant in the digital age.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS