Ship Your Samples

Shipping instructions for agencies, biologists, and researchers sending teeth from within the United States, no matter the quantity.

How To Prepare Your Samples For Shipment

If you are an Agency, Researcher, or Biologist, please follow the instructions on this page to find out how to send your animal teeth to Matson’s Lab for age analysis. Sportsmen, wildlife biologists, and researchers have been shipping teeth to Matson’s Lab for cementum age analysis since 1969, and we look forward to receiving your shipment as well!

Before You Ship

Schedule In Advance

Please schedule your submissions with Matson’s Lab prior to shipping. If a submission is not scheduled, it may take 6-10 months after arriving at the lab to receive age results. Scheduling with Matson’s in advance allows us to reserve space for your order to be processed more efficiently. We appreciate your efforts to schedule in advance and coordinate with us as soon as possible.

To begin scheduling your submission, please contact us:

Rush Services

Rush service may be available if you have time constraints that require age results in less than 6 months. Rush orders are not eligible for quantity discounts, and must still include an electronic master list for all specimens.
For rush pricing and availability, please contact us.

International Shipping

Shipping from outside the United States requires additional documentation and permitting. Please visit the International Shipping page if this applies to your shipment.

Preparing Your Shipment

The following is a brief explanation of how to prepare your shipment for aging at Matson’s Lab. If you have not worked with us before, please visit Prepare Your Specimens for some important instructions, then return to this shipping page for further information.
Tools needed for extracting teeth from deer jaws

Field Instructions for Extracting and Packaging

For detailed instructions on tooth extraction and packaging in the field, click here.

If you are a biologist or researcher supervising or delegating tasks to field teams and hunter check stations, this guide will explain sample requirements, tooth types, and extractions to your team. The instructions are designed to streamline the tooth extraction and packaging process so your specimens stay organized in the field and can be sent to Matson’s Lab most efficiently.

Envelopes correctly labeled and bundled for shipment to Matson's Lab.

Organize and Package Your Samples

Proper packaging ensures that your teeth can be processed without issue.

Standard tooth types can be found here. Please indicate any substitutions for non-standard tooth types, ensuring Matson’s can return the most accurate age data possible.

  • Most teeth fit well in “coin envelopes.” Do not use plastic bags, preservative liquids, or vials.

  • In-lab jaw extractions, excessively dirty, wet or rotting teeth will result in additional charges applied to your order.

  • Please be aware that the postal service may not be willing to deliver your package if the teeth are not dry and begin to rot in the mail.

Envelopes should be bundled in groups of 10 or 20 in the same order as the master list. If the envelopes are not bundled in order and Matson’s must sort them to match the master list, additional charges will be applied to your order.

Use shipping “peanuts” or paper to help keep the envelopes intact and in the correct order. Light cardboard cartons and paper envelopes easily lose contents in transit and are not recommended.

Envelopes marked with sample IDs

Create a Master List

Make a master list of your tooth samples using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs. This will be emailed to Matson’s Lab along with a copy of your order form.

Label the corresponding envelopes with the IDs and arrange them in the same order as your list. Additional charges will be applied if Matson’s must collate the envelopes or generate a master list.

  • When submitting Fisher, Marten, or Mink teeth, please indicate the gender of each animal and organize them into their respective groups to be processed separately as the lab must account for sexual dimorphism factors in these species.

  • Indicate gender for Black Bears as well, and for any species that needs a gender-specific age data summary.

The master list should include the date of harvest (or date of extraction from living animals) for each specimen. If the tooth is from a found carcass where the date of death is unknown, please note that information along with the date of collection.

If you are submitting non-standard teeth, please identify and indicate the tooth types on the master list. If all of the teeth being submitted are the same type of non-standard tooth, please note this on the order form.

Fill Out the Order Form

Please send the biologist order form in the box along with your envelopes, and include a copy in an email to Matson’s. Be sure to complete the following:

Mail To:

Matson’s Laboratory
135 Wooden Shoe Lane
Manhattan, MT 59741

Ready to Send your Shipment?

Having followed the directions above, review this checklist to ensure that your teeth arrive undamaged and in the correct order for lab processing.

What happens next? You should receive an email confirmation or reply from the lab team after we have received your master list. We will also update you when your shipment has been received and checked into the lab.

Submitting Late Additions?

Late additions may be accepted and added to the original order depending on where your order is in the lab process. Because of the time and logistical constraints required to process an order, we cannot always process additional late samples with the original order. If late additions cannot be caught up with the original order, they will be treated as a new order. Please contact the lab prior to submitting additional samples and we will work with you to accommodate the late additions as much as possible.

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