|Why Keith Shannon Invented the Bug Tamer Plus
Shannon Outdoors is a company born out of necessity. Avid outdoorsman and bowhunter Keith Shannon needed a way to hunt the hot, humid and mosquito-infested Carolina lowlands where he grew up. Since temperatures in the early season are normally in the 90s, long sleeve shirts and thick pants are out of the question. It wasn't feasible to use repellents since they would sweat off quickly and, once in the field, it was impossible to reapply to your back, not to mention that after you doused yourself two or three times in the shifting winds, you were no match for a whitetail's nose!
Frank Bennett wearing a Big Leaf Bug Tamer Plus
So, years ago, Keith says he purchased a single mesh garment from a local sporting goods dealer. "I was skeptical about its ability to keep mosquitoes off, but hopeful it would help," he says. "Well, it did keep about 20% of the mosquitoes off, but 20% of one million still left 800-thousand, and that made for some miserable hunting!
"So, while using that inexpensive garment, I noticed that where the mesh was elevated away from my skin, mosquitoes couldn't bite me. Where the mesh touched my skin or clothes, they had no problem biting.
"That gave me the idea of elevating the entire mesh suit to make sure bugs couldn't bite anywhere at any time. The first Bug Tamer was a little crude, but it worked like a charm. Everybody I knew wanted one! So, after about two years of trial and error and extensive field testing, the first patented Bug Tamer was ready for the market. I was so sure of it that I sold a successful business to devote full time to it. At first it was a hard sell, because it was more expensive than the existing single mesh bug suits - even though the quality was obviously much higher. I knew that once a few garments got into the field and people saw how effective it was, selling would become a lot easier. And it has. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and that is what really kicked this business off."
For the first few years, Keith Shannon and his wife Marilyn were the sole employees of Shannon Outdoors. "We did everything from answering phones to boxing orders," Marilyn says. "Wanting to keep business as simple as possible, we contracted out all of the sewing work and, fifteen years later, we are still working together.
"Bug Tamer Plus is a complex garment to manufacture, but we have it down to an art and employ 20 to 30 people year-round. Today, we ship all over North America, to Africa and South America and Asia, but the entire garment is made in the U.S. and comes fully warranted against manufacturer defects with a 'Satisfaction Guarantee.' You can't beat that!"
"I really like it," Keith Shannon says, "when people tell me the Bug Tamer helped them enjoy their time oudoors because that's what it's all about."