About Us


Matt and Carolyn Nistler purchased Matson's Laboratory from Gary and Judy in 2014. Carolyn continues to work closely with Gary throughout all phases of the transition process. Carolyn is a Certified Widllife Biologist, and when she isn't in the lab processsing and aging teeth, she and Matt spend their time looking for new teeth to add to their personal collection, via foot, horseback, or Super Cub.


Matson's Laboratory, LLC enters its 46th year of providing biologists with histological preparations to aid in managing wildlfe populations. Owners Gary and Judy Matson started the laboratory in 1969. Gary Matson, MSc (Zoology, University of Montana), has formal graduate training in histology and histological microtechnique.

Primary services are cementum age analysis and tetracycline biomarker screening.

Work is done entirely on a custom basis on specimens sent to us by our clients. We work for wildlife research/management agencies in most North American states and Canadian provinces as well as other countries. We accept specimens from any private research organization or government agency. Specimens are also accepted from private individuals (hunters, outfitters, taxidermists) within the U.S. 

Lab Staff


Arthur (AJ) Stephens

Lab Manager

Sarah Yeend

Lab Supervisor

Environmental and safety concerns

Matson's laboratory takes the following steps to protect technicians from harmful exposures, and to minimize environmental contamination resulting from the laboratory's operation.

  • All laboratory operations generating chemical fumes are conducted under an exhaust hood.
  • Technicians transferring corrosive liquids are protected by a splash guard.
  • Spent solvents are disposed of using procedures approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Matson's Laboratory is an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed generator of hazardous waste, and complies with all state and federal regulations regarding disposal.
  • Acids used in the laboratory are neutralized and disposed of using methods approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Conservation Award

The Burk-Brandborg Award for outstanding individual contributions in a given year was presented to Gary Matson for his leadership with Friends of Two Rivers, a group of Milltown and Bonner residents committed to the cleanup Milltown Reservoir and the removal of the Milltown Dam. The conservation award, presented on Earth Day, April 22, 2004, honors writer Dale Burk and the late Bitterroot Forest Supervisor G.M. Brandborg.

Gary’s past involvement in conservation issues includes work on the teratogenic effects of the brush killer 2,4,5-T , helping to organize area community opposition to the Northern Tier pipeline, work on land use issues as a board member of the Montana Environmental Information Center (formerly EIC), and membership in many conservation organizations.

Judy was also awarded the Burk-Brandborg Award for outstanding individual contrubutions in a given year for her role in finding common ground for citizens on opposing sides of the Milltown cleanup. The Bonner Milltown History Center is supported by a community with a long and unique history.


Throughout our entire business lifetime, begun in 1969, we have enjoyed the full support of you for whom we work... biologists, researchers, and technicians around the world. Your continued help and encouragement are why we're still here, and we appreciate it.

We expect our facility to be a permanent one, offering standardized technical services on a personal level to the world community of wildlife professionals.