Who We Are And
Where We Came From

The leading and most trusted wildlife lab with the most experience in cementum age analysis.
Aging teeth around the world since 1969!

Our Core Value

To provide unbiased, scientific cementum age analysis for
professionals with a dedication to conservation through science.

From Left to Right: AJ (Arthur), Carolyn, Stacey, Traci, Katie, Patrick, Eryn, Nicole, Jesse, Eric

Who We Are

We are the largest wildlife lab with the most experience in cementum age analysis in the world. We bring conservation to life by aiding biologists, sportsmen and women, and researchers as they work to keep our wild populations healthy for future generations to enjoy. 

At Matson’s Laboratory, it’s what we do and who we are. We are a wildlife lab that works for wildlife conservationists, like you, because we believe in protecting and managing the animals that we share this planet with.

Matson’s Laboratory ages more than 100,000 animals from all over the world each year. Biologists send us thousands of teeth at a time and they use our age results to set sustainable hunting quotas. These quotas help conserve our populations of game animals while ensuring hunting opportunities for future generations. Individual hunters also submit teeth from their harvest(s) each year, whether it be their child’s first white-tailed deer, or the black bear they have been tracking on trail cams for years. Researchers and graduate students send us teeth from live-captured animals and our data helps them study populations of interest such as endangered and threatened species. Our expertise and wildlife lab services encompass many different areas within the wildlife community but one thing we all have in common is our shared love for wildlife. We hope your passion for the great outdoors and all that inhabits it leads you to Matson’s Laboratory.

Where We Came

In 1969, in the small community of Milltown, Montana, Gary and Judy Matson started Matson’s Laboratory. At the time, it was a small wildlife lab called Montana Microscopic, located in a 1958 mobile home. 

Gary pioneered cementum age analysis in the United States, which ended up being more complicated than simply counting rings like originally thought. It turns out each species cementum growth patterns are unique from one another. The age analysis methods Gary developed have been tested and revised over the years and are now the proprietary standardized analysis models used by Matson’s Lab. Want to learn more about how Matson’s Laboratory has contributed to science? Visit our News & Publications page!

A 1988 visit to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage was a pivotal time in the development of the lab. The Department had always utilized its own wildlife lab for slide preparation and analysis of tooth sections from Alaska brown bears.  Invited by the Department, Gary participated with three experienced agency biologists to analyze the ADFG collection of tooth sections from known age bears. Gary’s results were accurate and precise over the three separate trials done by each participant, and the Department has sent its game mammal teeth to Matson’s Lab ever since.

The Owners

In 2014, Gary and Judy sold Matson’s Laboratory to Carolyn and Matt Nistler, and soon after, in 2015, Matson’s was moved to Manhattan, Montana. 

The new wildlife lab is now a fully equipped, permanent building staffed with experts who are excited to age teeth for many more years to come. Carolyn Nistler has helped the wildlife lab grow and flourish while still carrying on Gary and Judy’s vision and dedication to the science community. Carolyn’s devotion is evident in her contributions to the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Montana State University’s Extension Wildlife Program. Gary Matson still consults with the lab to this day.

Carolyn, a Certified Wildlife Biologist who has been personally trained in aging by Gary Matson, is an active member of The Wildlife Society and supports a number of conservation organizations, particularly those that emphasize conservation through ethical hunting. Matt and Carolyn love to spend time in all outdoor environments, whether exploring wilderness on foot, horseback, or backcountry flying.

Conservation Through Science

I have strived to foster wildlife conservation throughout my adult life, as a wildlife biologist, hunter, and hunter education instructor. I enthusiastically pursued ownership of Matson’s Laboratory in 2013, as no other single institute has a farther reaching impact on wildlife conservation and population management.

The team at Matson’s Laboratory was collectively built through our commitment to wildlife. We are honored to provide critical data to wildlife managers worldwide, and we do not take this responsibility lightly. We live and breathe Conservation through Science!

Carolyn Nistler


The Team

The Agers

Carolyn, AJ, Jesse, Stacey

The Whole Team

Thank you for trusting our wildlife lab professionals with your tooth aging needs, we greatly appreciate your efforts to send your samples to us!

The Hunter Team

Eric, Nicole, Jesse

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