By SAM ZERN
The hunting lifestyle brand former Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher co-founded has entered into an exclusive partnership with Tractor Supply that will push its merchandise to more than 1,200 stores nationwide.
Locally-based Catchin’ Deers started as a joke, when co-founder Austin Casselman asked Mike Fisher and his younger brother Bud if they had “caught any deers” while on a hunting trip. When the men returned to hunt camp the next season, they were sporting foam trucker hats with the phrase “catchin’ deers” printed on them. The trio founded the company in 2016 and now own it along with Reid Faught and Ryan Hawkins.
“We’ve definitely found a market that resonates with people and they seem to enjoy it and have a laugh and want to wear our stuff,” said Mike Fisher, who retired (for a second time) at the end of the Preds’ 2017-18 season. “We knew that early because we’d all be wearing just the simplest trucker hat and it seemed like every hunter would stop you and just laugh.”
In addition to those original hats, the company sells shirts, outerwear, bumper stickers and other headwear. In a press release, the company said it has generated millions in sales since it was founded and that revenues have risen 190 percent in each of the last two years.
With the Tractor Supply partnership, the brand’s reach will grow further. The Catchin’ Deers team will exclusive sell a line of hats, T-shirts, hoodies and decals via the Brentwood-based retail giant.
“I love the company and they’ve been really good to work with,” Mike Fisher said. “They’re our perfect market with their customers. I think for what we offer and our brand, we couldn’t be in a better place.”
Still, the deal likely won’t mean huge changes for the Catchin’ Deers team. They plan to hire another person to handle customer service but manufacturing and design work will continue to take place in Casselman’s Franklin-based manufacturing company, Implement Now, and both Mike Fisher and Casselman will remain part-time.
As a lifestyle brand, Catchin’ Deers leans into its humor, producing comedy videos and other hunting content for its YouTube and Instagram pages, which have nearly 4,000 and nearly 75,000 followers, respectively. Much of the content stars Bud Fisher, playing a character named “Rut Daniels” or telling hunting and fishing stories full of inside jokes and references.
In addition to their own videos, Catchin’ Deers produces content for companies they partner with, including outdoor brands Realtree and Browning. Mike Fisher said that part of the brand — along with the company’s regular posts about faith — is a way to engage fans beyond product sales.
“For me leaving hockey, the transition was perfect timing,” Mike said. “You don’t get that camaraderie when you don’t see the guys every day at the rink, but I do at the hunt camp. We laugh and we joke that was something we wanted to create — just to get guys laughing through our social media and videos — and that’s how we grew the brand.”