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September 27, 2019

VIDEO: Selling for the Whitetail Hunting Season Can Boost Profits


By Shari LeGate / FMG Publications

In 2018, hunters bought over 15.6 million hunting licenses, with 80 percent of those licenses chasing big game. The most popular: the white-tailed deer. Over 8.1 million people hunt deer annually. Spending time in the outdoors and deer camps is enjoyed by men, women and youth, from all social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

An economic force in America, hunters spend around $16 billion dollars annually on hunting gear, accessories and vehicles. Deer season can mean a lot of sales if you carry the right mix of products in your store.

Stocking More Than Guns and Ammo

Needing more than just guns and ammo, deer hunters are always looking for products that will make their hunt more enjoyable, more comfortable and safer. Stocking products and planning marketing strategies to meet those needs can drive significant sales to the bottom line and to bag your fair share of the hunting market, start preparing now.

Waiting until hunting is upon you to stock the shelves could result in missed sales. Whitetail season may not start until mid-September, but ordering inventory months prior will help prepare your customer well in advance and they’ll know where to go when that overlooked item is needed.

All Hunters Are Not Created Equal

When deciding what to stock, remember all hunters are not created equal. The hunting community can be broken down into several niche groups starting with gender, geographic location, purpose, and income.

Before planning strategies and stocking shelves, decide which hunting niche’s your business serves the most and what type of hunting it is; rifle or muzzleloader.

In many states, different firearms are allowed in different management zones offering a wide range of what hunters purchase. Find out what the customer plans to do and where before recommending a hunting gun.

Firearms in inventory should be from a variety of manufacturers at various price points focusing on the current popular calibers. The 6.5 Creedmoor, the .450 Bushmaster and the .350 Legend are the newest of the calibers and are experiencing high demand.

Location, Location, Location

Geographical location determines what set-up to stock the most. Deer hunting in the Northeast is much different than deer hunting in the southwest. Is it stand hunting, stalking and still hunting, spot and stalk or some other method? Get a feel for where the customer is going and how they want to hunt.

Treestands are important for comfort, but safety is the primary concern. Be sure your customer understands the importance of a commercially manufactured tree stand and be able to offer several different models.

Profits in Quality Optics, Clothing & Camouflage

Avid hunters already have their firearm of choice, unless they’re looking for a new caliber. Quality optics present another opportunity for sales and are essential for finding and identifying deer. Offer a spectrum of optics in prices ranges from low to high.

Today’s hunting clothes are making hunters quieter and more comfortable and location again plays into what should be on your shelves. Camouflage worn in the lower midwest isn’t necessarily the same camo worn in the upper midwest. Clothing containing wool, down or other insulation keeping the head, body and feet warm makes for a more enjoyable hunt.

There are significant differences that determine the needs and buying behaviors of white-tailed deer hunters as well as state and local regulations. Understanding your local market and the hunting needs of your customer will result in success with seasonal hunting sales.

For more information on how to help your customer enjoy the white-tailed deer hunting season, visit NSSF.org/Retailers

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