Located in beautiful Missoula Montana Wildlife Analytical Laboratories™ (www.DeerAge.com) is owned and operated by Heather and Chad Stevens. Heather has an extensive scientific background specializing in animal histology and Chad has over 20 years in the hunting industry as a taxidermist and avid bow hunter. Together they make the perfect pair to run DeerAge bringing together backgrounds that ensure we understand your needs as a customer. Accuracy and Customer Service will always be our top priority!
Meet our Staff
Heather Stevens B.S., HTL(ASCP)
Director of Operations (Owner)
Director of Social Media (owner)
Dr. Vipin Sharma PhD
Director of Research
Juli McLain B.S., HT
- What do you find most interesting about what we do here? The variety of animals we age is amazing! From Raccoons to bears we do it all.
- Do you have any outdoor hobbies you’d like to mention? Snowshoeing, skiing and hiking the beautiful trails of Montana
- Do you feel you are playing an important role in wildlife conservation? Yes. Data and statistics are critical for understanding what issues exist and how to tackle them.
- What makes you excited about DeerAge? We try to see the world not only as scientists but as hunters and stewards of the lands. We are constantly trying to improve and innovate.
- Is there anything you think our customers should know about you? I bring over 35 years of laboratory experience to the table and I absolutely LOVE my job!
Customer Service Representative
- What do you find most interesting about what we do here? I love the whole process-never knew that animals teeth could be aged like this and I really enjoy learning new things everyday about what we do here. I’m excited for the research and growth that is planned too.
- Do you have any outdoor hobbies you’d like to mention? Hiking, camping, fishing, landscape and nature photography.
- Do you feel you are playing an important role in wildlife conservation? Absolutely. And not just with the aging but also through things like the nutrition program and the data analysis program.
- What makes you excited about DeerAge? I love that its such a unique and niche field, that the company is owned by a woman (who is an awesome boss, LOL) and its a great place to work. The customers aren’t so bad either!
- Is there anything you think our customers should know about you? I’m a 5th generation Montanan and proud of it!
Lab Tech and Social Media Marketer
- What do you find most interesting about what we do here? The technique of Cementum annuli aging.
- Do you have any outdoor hobbies you’d like to mention? golf, hiking, dog walking, camping, fishing and hopefully next season HUNTING!
- Do you feel you are playing an important role in wildlife conservation? Working for DeerAge I do feel like I play an important role in conservation. We do a lot of outreach through social media. We are bringing awareness to hunters in both the US and Canada.
- What makes you excited about DeerAge? The people I work with especially the owners. They make me feel like I’m part of a family. I am also excited about how fast the company is growing. I love being a part of the journey. There is so much room for growth and potential.
- What do you find most interesting about what we do here? That anybody can play a role in conservation.
- Do you have any outdoor hobbies you’d like to mention? Hunting, Fishing and Trapping
- Do you feel you are playing an important role in wildlife conservation? I do. I feel like we’re allowing everyone to get a general sense of wildlife conservation. We’re allowing hunters to target older, bigger animals, as well as established wildlife biologists conducting research.
- What makes you excited about DeerAge? To see what they will expand to!
- Is there anything you think our customers should know about you? I’m a Wildlife Biology Major at the University of Montana.
Michelle Van Dam
Canadian Receiving Coordinator
Here are her answers to our staff questions.
- What do you find most interesting about what we do here? The accuracy of cementum aging in comparison to other techniques.
- Do you have any outdoor hobbies you’d like to mention? I love to hunt! I hunt all year round, and my passion is bowhunting big game. Elk, moose, deer, wolf and bear. I also love to fish year round, and depending on what time of year it is I will tell you that I love that type of fishing the most. I just learnt how to fly fish last summer and look forward to learning more this season. I also started helping a few local taxidermists with European mounts. I would love to one day start my own business and learn all about taxidermy, as well as trapping. I love to teach my kids all about the outdoors and getting them involved in all my outdoor projects.
- Do you feel you are playing an important role in wildlife conservation? Absolutely. One of the main reasons why I joined the Deer Age team! It is my way of contributing and giving back to the wildlife by helping understand and better manage populations.
- What makes you excited about DeerAge? Watching Deer Age grow! People are gaining a better understanding of how beneficial it is to age your mammal teeth from the area you actively hunt. From a local or an outfitters perspective I think it will help us all better understand wildlife populations. And that can serve us in many valuable ways. And of course being a contributing member in the hunting community.
- Is there anything you think our customers should know about you? That I will do my absolute best to give you the best possible customer experience!
The History Of DeerAge
DeerAge was founded in mid 2004 by Henry and Mary Chidgey with a simple and focused vision. Their vision was to provide accurate and timely forensic cementum annuli aging of whitetail deer and other game mammals with a high degree of customer service. They believed that there are many people, who are passionate about hunting and managing habitat to realize the maximum potential of their deer herd.
In 2014 Wildlife Analytical Laboratories partnered with a larger lab, Nationwide Histology inc (Currently still owned by Heather Stevens) to handle the increasing volume. With a full team of highly qualified histologists, Nationwide Histology was able to produce top quality slides at a much faster turn around which allowed DeerAge to then offer the quick turn around we so proudly offer. At the end of 2017 Henry & Mary Chidgey decided to retire and sold Wildlife Analytical Laboratories to Heather, who is not only a passionate scientist but also enjoys the outdoors and spending time in her husband Chad’s taxidermy studio. As of 2022 DeerAge has a clear vision for improving the access to valuable data for aging as well as developing new research in the field of aging. We have multiple active research projects and are looking forward to making announcements about our emerging data.
A message from Henry and Mary on retirement
My name is Henry Chidgey, a proud American and son of the State of Texas. I have spent much of my life in the pursuit of knowledge and techniques to manage habitat for wildlife, especially the whitetail deer. Our company, Wildlife Analytical Laboratories™ was created out of the belief that with accurate, precise, timely feedback of age to hunters and others interested in managing whitetails for maximum trophy potential—whether buck or doe—the fulfillment of many hunters’ dreams today and in the future will be realized. My wife and life partner Mary and I thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you andyour commitments as wildlife stewards over the last 15 years. It is time now for us to pass the torch to the next generation who we believe will do an even better job at serving you. Heather and her team will be taking over the business at the start of 2018. Heather has become, in addition to a valued part of our service delivery over the last 4 ½ years, a dear friend and trusted colleague. We are confident you will come to trust and value her as we have. Of course, Mary & I will continue to support Heather in any way she desires.
By the way, we will insure that any specimens or correspondence that comes to us here in
Burnet will be immediately forwarded to DeerAge.com in Missoula.