From a distance, Species Specific feeders are noticeably different than other feeder products and as you move closer it becomes very apparent that they don’t just look different, they are in a class of their own.
The Species Specific feeder, developed by Central natives Harold Monk and Darryl Monk, allows hunters to feed targeted animals such as deer only. While that in itself has revolutionized the feeder market they did not stop there.
The feeder uses a series of cameras and motions sensors and a program designed by family member Jason Ray to target specific species of animals and allow only the targeted animal to feed from the feeder’s concealed feed bins.
The feeders integrated cameras eliminate the need for additional game cameras at the feed site, save users up to 40% in feed cost, stores photos of the targeted animal which can be downloaded to your mobile device, has an integrated solar panel and an optional shock system to deter bears, raccoons etc.
Harold Monk, Darryl Monk and CEO Shane Odom all went to Central High School together. Odom says they knew it may be cheaper to manufacture their new product elsewhere, but says it was important to do this at home where it all started.
“We just wanted to keep it here in Central,” Odom said. “It’s a big family venture, and we wanted to keep it here (in Central), and build something the residents could be proud of. Who we are, in part, is due to this community so it’s a chance to give back in our own, unique way.”
And, when he says a family venture he means it because family members work inside their Blackwater Road assembly facility producing the feeders and get them ready for distribution. Both Harold and Darryl’s children have active roles in the company as well as their wives and parents.
But it goes deeper than that, in fact from start to finish the entire process of making the Species Specific feeders is handled in Central. The metal work is done at Custom Metal Works on Hooper road, the feeders are then taken to Central Powder and Industrial Coatings for powder coating before ending up in the Species Specific assembly facility.
“We also have an agreement with LSU, all of our testing is done at their Idlewild wildlife research center which is ran by Glen Gentry, who is also a graduate of Central high school. He graduated in the same class as Darryl and I,” Odom said.
The idea for Species Specific started nearly a decade ago when Harold’s uncle, James Powers, talked to someone at the USDA who told him that they were interested in developing a way to dispense toxins to help control the feral pig population across the United States.
Despite the USDA saying a product like this would never come to be, the Monks pressed on and after more than seven years of design, research and development, their HAM product line was born.
However, there was one big problem. “The good ole boys from Central developed a feeder before the U.S. Government could develop a toxin.” Odom said.
So Odom, charged with creating a successful company and identifying markets, decided to enter the only other viable market for their product, game feeders.
“We had way too much time and money invested to sit around and wait on the government,” Odom said. “No toxin, no problem. We will enter the game feeder market with the most technologically advanced feeders in the world and people will buy them.”
So they tweaked their programming and design and the Species Specific deer feeder was born.
Odom says they will mainly supply dealers (such as Bowie Outfitters and Academy) with their product, those dealers will then sell them to consumers across the country. In fact, Odom says the company has already has dealers in Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and one regional dealer specializing in large pay hunt operations.
Despite only being in distribution since the early part of June, Odom says the early going is promising and even hinted at some new products hitting the market in the coming months.
As for the future, well this family business wants to go big:
“Five years from now we want to be the YETI™ of deer feeders,” Odom said. “In other words we want to be the feeders that set the benchmark that all other feeders are compared to. We have a great product unmatched by any other manufacturer but we aren’t resting on that. We will continue to out innovate, out design and out work the competition. It’s who we are, it’s what we do and it’s what this community deserves.”
To the Species Specific deer feeder in action check out the company website, www.speciesspecific.org.
A Species Specific Feeder ready to be shipped out.
Co-Founder Darryl Monk (L) and CEO Shane Odom (R) with a Species Specific feeder
Workers install components of a Species Specific feeder.