Deer head busts demon­strating three-year growth of antlers after using Lucky Buck.
Brendan Clarey | Col­legian

Mar-Vo Mineral Co., Inc. has begun pro­duction in downtown Hillsdale within the last month on their deer growth sup­ple­ments for hunters throughout the U.S.

“We’ve been blessed with a lot of growth, and it’s been very ful­filling. We’re really pleased to be a part of the city now; we’ve been out in the country,” said owner and pres­ident of Mar-Vo David Wheeler. “This is giving us the oppor­tunity to meet a lot of people, and interact with a lot of other busi­nesses in the area. It gives us, obvi­ously, a lot more oppor­tunity for growth because of the size of this facility.”

The company pri­marily pro­duces min­erals for hunters to use on their prop­erties to help whitetail deer grow stronger and larger. Their product, Lucky Buck Mineral, con­tains trace ele­ments that specif­i­cally encourage deer antlers growth.

Mar-Vo has been in the Hillsdale area for 85 years, but in 1995, Wheeler bought the company, which was based in two old barns in Osseo. At that time, the company pro­duced min­erals for dairy cows, which is Wheeler’s back­ground.

For the first few years, Wheeler would mix min­erals at night and deliver the fin­ished product during the day. He hired his first employee a year later.

“We had one or two employees for the first ten years or so,” Wheeler said. “And it kept going, but we developed the deer mineral, and that’s what really made the sub­stantial growth.”

The company took off in 2001, when a deer with world record antler size was killed by Hillsdale res­ident Vic Bulliner in Hillsdale County. The record-breaking whitetail had been eating Lucky Buck for two years, and the company has been using the “Vic Bulliner buck” ever since as proof that its product works.

“It was the mar­keting oppor­tunity of a lifetime,” Wheeler said.

The mar­keting is working because Lucky Buck is now sold nationwide at several chain stores.

“We’re probably in five to six thousand stores in the United States,” said Ron Coe, office manager and second-in-command. “We’re in Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, and Tractor Supply Co.”

The company sold over 200,000 buckets of Lucky Buck, 20 pounds of min­erals in each, amounting to more than 4 million pounds of the product last year alone. Lucky Buck makes up 95 percent of the company’s sales, but it also offers other products for sheep and hens.

The move downtown has helped with space problems, Wheeler said. He recalled six semi-trucks waiting in a line to get filled because they didn’t have the space to ship all the mineral. Now they have plenty of room.

The company now employs ten people from around the area. Austin Wolcott is one of these employees, and has worked at Mar-Vo for two years as an assistant to pro­duction.

Wolcott says he began using Lucky Buck on his property when he started working for Mar-Vo and is hopeful for sig­nif­icant results on the deer’s antler sizes.

“We should be starting to see a change here pretty soon,” Wolcott said.

Wheeler and Coes both travel to shows around the country to show off Lucky Buck and the results that it has. Wheeler has the Vic Bulliner buck standing in his office, and there is a trophy room full of replica antlers that demon­strate the effects of Lucky Buck over a few years. “Mar-Vo is pretty busy right now with the hunting shows, but will be pro­ducing the most in June, July, and August,” Wheeler said.

Hunting season, however, is rel­a­tively easy on their end.

“During hunting season, it’s more of just keeping watch for our cus­tomers who are coming back to us with new tes­ti­mo­nials and new examples of success,” Wheeler said.