This didn't happen overnight it comes from many years of self-guided hunting experience, study, overcoming negative comments, tenacity and drive.
GAME BAG Q&A TIMELINE
GAME BAG Q&A TIMELINE
Q: Do the game bags need to be pre-washed before use?
A: NO pre-treatment required. Your new game bags are ready to use.
Q: When did you first think of making the game bag?
A: 1999 -2000 after years of struggling with the only bags on the market at the time - cheese cloth and heavy canvas bags. I knew there had to be a better system for taking care of your hard-earned game meat. In true a buddy had brought a few of the TAG bags on one of our hunts, yes, they were lightweight but did not hold up, we noticed a slimy buildup on the meat after a few days in the bag, it turns out the bags where made of nylon. I thought there had to be a better way! There had to be a much better fabric for a game bag, I simply couldn't find it.
Q: When did you finally settle on the Caribou Gear game bags of today?
A: 2001 It was on my first Alaska hunt in 2001, when it all happened by chance. (read the about page Ted Ramirez).
I returned home to find my wife Sharon suffering with previously diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, she ended up in the hospital for a long week. With my head spinning with this troubling situation and in the back of my mind thinking about the big moose I brought home and the complete Alaskan experience. I spent day and night at the hospital, with my spiral note pad. I wrote of my experience and of all the things that rolled around in my head. It was there at my wife's bedside that I put this puzzle together. I had the design all drawn up and I was ready to make my first prototype, along with many other hunting gear ideas, at the time it was a total of 21 items.
With Sharon’s medicine finally working she was able to go home. And we were able to visit several fabric shops throughout the Denver Metro area over the following weeks of her recovery, ordering fabric of almost every online store around the country. In my mind I knew what I wanted; I just couldn’t find the material. I was headed to Alaska the following year and needed game bags that didn't smell like last year’s kill, So I made Canvas game bags with Lock Loops and light reflective attachments.
Q: How long did it take to find the right fabric?
A: It was a long frustrating 7 years when I finally found the fabric. Over the seven-year period I studied fabric and how it’s made its density, thread count, formulation and by products and components of fabric, and I learned to sew, I now own 3 sewing machines.
Q: How did you find a fabric manufacture?
A: I contacted countless manufactures in the US and overseas, some responded and others I never heard from. That is except one company, they were very helpful, not knowing Chinese and them not knowing English, it was kind of a struggle understanding their word use of some of our email exchanges but after hundreds if not thousands of back and forth, we have it figured out.
Q: Did you sew all your own game bags?
A: Yes, but I knew that I would need a sewer from high volume production.
Q: How did you come up with package and sizes?
A: 2008 I went off my game quarter measurements and a few local wild game butchers. During the hunting season here in Colorado I went and spent days measuring the height and circumference (they thought I was crazy) of nearly ever animal that came in. I then averaged out the actual quarter dimensions, I took this information and drew up my own pattern, it did help that I was familiar with prints, drafting in middle and high school as well as previous experience ready many prints as owner of my own painting company.
Q: Did you attend college?
A:No, sadly my wife and I skipped our senior year in high school, got married and studied and received our GED. I studied at CMC – Psychology, law enforcement/crises intervention and reports (I was a security officer at BV prison).
Q: How/Why did you decide to patent the game bag?
A: Well at the time my game bag was the only game bag of its kind. I thought why not try and patent it. In 2008 I bought a few “how to” books read and studied on how to write, draw, and apply for a Patent I then submitted my own self written provisional patent.
Q: Are the game bags patented?
A: Yes, I own patents in US and Canada
Q: When did you decide to move forward with production.
A: It was 2008 a bad year the economy was tanking work was scarce, so I sold off half my commercial paint equipment, my boat, my camp trailer and my (a sad time) horses. With the support of my wife Sharon, I was all-in (my friends, family thought I was crazy). I took this money and bought the new fabric formula and fabric; I sent my sewn samples to China and ordered a 100 prototype samples. During this time, I submitted my provisional patent. I knew that once this provisional patent was submitted, I would only have 1 year to submit a complete patent. We had to work fast, I still didn't now if the game bag design would even work, much less worthy of selling as a product.
Q: Why didn't you think the bags would work?
A: I knew they would work to hold something, my concern was the fabric breathability, will stitching hold, or would it be just another nylon like game bag? Worried and nervous YES!
Q: When did you first receive your first prototype?
A: June 2008 I was at my son Ted JR's baseball game across town. It was the ninth inning (his team was winning) my daughter pulled up with a package from China! (I feel the same excitement and worry now sitting hear typing this as I did 10 years ago) I held in my hands my family destiny, my destiny our future! I opened the package and reached in I immediately new this was the fabric I was looking for, I pulled out one of the bags. This is it! I couldn't contain myself; I was so pleased to say the least (a personal tear or two was shed that day).
Q: So, what did you do next?
A: Well I knew I had to start marketing. I wrote letters, sent samples, emailed to random stores including a hand full of stores in Alaska, Cabela’s, Bass Pro and many others. Barney's Sports Chalet in Anchorage liked what we were doing asked if we could go up and show them the new product. I booked meetings with a few other stores and within a week my good family friend Clint and I were off to Alaska. In short, we have product at every store we stopped in. It was during this time I received a call from Sharon saying Sportsman's Warehouse wanted to meet.
Q: What happened in your meeting with Sportsman's Warehouse?
A: A bundle of nerves and all my variations of game bags, I flew to Utah and met with the Sportsman's Warehouse buyer. Within that first hour I had all the product opened and laid out on the buyer’s desk. He must have thought I was crazy (He still calls me crazy Ted, I think that’s why, I'm not sure?) I was happy to leave an hour later with a six-figure order!!!!
Q: How did you get into the other stores?
A: It took a year or two but with lots of work we landed a spot on the shelves of Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Midway USA, Scheels, and we are now sold at many other store locations in Canada and around the world.
Q: Why did it take so long?
A: Many of these store outlets wanted to know that the product was going to work, they just didn't want to take my word for it. By now I had tested the game bags on my Colorado elk and deer hunt and many fishing excursions. They worked great; the bag fabric was breathable allowing the meat to skin over (glaze) they performed even better than expected.
Q: What was your product line?
A: 2009 We had the orange multiple bag system (today's Magnum Pack) for moose, elk, deer, the Full Carcass bags, camp meat bag, single quarter bags and the Carnivore meat bag system.
Q: What is the camp meat bag?
A: For as long as I've been hunting, I always took the tenderloin, backstrap or even the heart for dinner back at camp. Before I used a grocery store plastic bag or zip lock but often, I found them to be too small. To me it was just a given, we
needed a small game bag, no question there had to be a Caribou Gear Camp Meat Bag.
Q: When did you come up with the Carnivore?
A: 2008 It was one of our first line of products and turned out a big seller with the back-country hunters. At the time we had the only “meat only” package system on the market in fact all other manufacturer’s sold bags in sets of four, on the average a person needs 5 game bags to house four quarters and one other bag for meat parts.
Q: How did the market and industry react?
A: With open arms it was exciting and refreshing I felt deeply honored by the general customer at large. On the other hand, the industry was a little dismayed by the thought of us coming out with a game bag so unique and with a provisional patent.
At the Western Hunting Expo, we had this guy seemingly upset, come up and say how did you come up with these bags, at the same time tried to rip our small camp meat bag apart at the seam! Another guy cam by and insisted that I tell him
where the bags were made and what they were made of. Despite some of the confrontation we sold through the roof that day, we even had to take backorders and mail product when we returned to our shop.
Q: Do you co-brand with other companies
A: Yes, we have co-branded product with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation, goHunt and a few other private organizations.
Q: Why not put your logos on your game bags
A: Believe me, in the designing stage I tried and thought of doing it this way, that way, but I simply stood by my belief, the game meat must come first. What’s the purpose of a game bag if it's not doing the first fundamental job of a game bag, it simply needs to breathe, A game bag is made to house and transport game meat, yes a person could do this with a plastic trash bag(Do Not Do Use Trash Bags). But then a person wonders why their family won't eat the gamey tasting meat, personally I wouldn't eat it either.
Q: 2019 Now that so many years have passed how is the game bag market of today?
A: Well we started a whirlwind of activity; today there are many synthetic game bags. We find many different types and styles across the board, some made of awning material, tent nylon, ripstop nylon, mesh bags soaked in citric acid. It's a long list of looks and takes on a game bag.