Do You Stock Whitetail-Specific Hunting Gear?

Three veteran archery retailers discuss the pros and cons of stocking hunting merchandise specific to whitetails.

Do You Stock Whitetail-Specific Hunting Gear?

We asked three veteran archery retailers: What whitetail-specific hunting merchandise do you offer? Here’s what they had to say.

Jason McClain

Sportsman’s Cove

Grabill, Indiana

We offer deer scents, calls and decoys. Locally-sourced deer scents sell well for us. As for name-brand scents, we sell lots of Wildlife Research Center scents. The Special Golden Estrus is a bestseller. Lastly, Buck Bomb scents go over well, the convenience and cleanliness being the selling points.

My customers most often choose Hunters Specialties deer calls. The True Talker has been around for so long that it’s become a staple. Primos calls are probably my No. 2 seller.

There are a lot of deer decoys available now. We don’t sell any of the 2-D stuff. Being that most of my customers hunt from treestands, 3-D decoys are the favorite around here. The Flambeau Boss Buck is a popular model. We have those on hand every fall.

We don’t really sell any treestands here because we just don’t have the space for them. On the other hand, we sell a few shooting houses every year. Folks seem to like the Shadow Hunter blinds we offer.

Occasionally, we bring in a product that looks promising but just doesn’t sell. Currently, we’re sitting on a bunch of Hunters Specialties Blade Drivers. It seemed like a neat concept at first, but my customers just aren’t buying into it. I don’t think they like the noise aspect, because regular wafers and wicks sell just fine.

The ozone units have been gamechangers here. We’ve done Ozonics for several years, as well as Scent Crusher and ScentLok. In particular, we did very well with the ScentLok OZ Radial 400 unit last year. The technology definitely works, and as more folks learn that, we’ll keep selling more and more ozone products.

At the ATA Show we saw the new ZeroTrace by Wildgame Innovations. It generates ion molecules, so it’s a different technology. We’re going to sit back and watch it for a year. If people receive it well, we’ll consider bringing some into the shop in 2020.

John Lammle

Prairie Archery

Parkers Prairie, Minnesota

We do reasonably well with a couple different mineral brands, Lucky Buck being the most popular. I’d guess we sell something like 50 buckets per season, which is pretty good considering that we’re located in a small city. Word of mouth seems to sell it for us. When one customer gets results, they refer their friends to it.

I have about three brands of deer calls and four or five brands of deer scents. One of my customers has a deer herd, and we bring in some of his lures.

There’s a Fleet Farm just over 25 miles away that offers hunting equipment, plus a few other sporting-goods stores within a couple hours. Those and online stores are making hunting-equipment sales somewhat problematic for a small-town shop like ours.

Still, we do have a market for hunting equipment. Some customers are already coming in for archery equipment anyway, and it saves them time to buy a grunt call or deer scent here rather than make a special trip to a larger sporting-goods store. It’s a convenience thing.

Decoys and treestands are tough for us. The first half of 2018 was slow across the board. We made up for it throughout the year.

We’ll continue buying hunting equipment conservatively, but we know there’s certainly a market here for things like scents, calls and minerals.

Blake Nowak

Diamond Archery

Wichita, Kansas

Just prior to the whitetail rut, Diamond Archery staff uses social media to inform its customers when Real Scent Pure Heat is in stock.
Just prior to the whitetail rut, Diamond Archery staff uses social media to inform its customers when Real Scent Pure Heat is in stock.

Right before the rut hits, we bring in refrigerated Real Scent’s Pure Heat. In the past, we always struggled to sell other deer scents that are available at box stores, but this stuff always does really well for us. Beyond that, we don’t get too crazy with calls and other deer accessories, although we do keep a few grunt tubes on hand.

We get several inquiries annually on deer decoys, but we just can’t justify special ordering them because of shipping charges. Anyone can jump online and buy a deer decoy for cheaper than our cost. There’s also a large chain retailer nearby. That giant retailer, believe it or not, actually helps us. We make a lot on labor from folks who buy stuff from that store, plus we have a shooting range. We keep a good relationship with that store; we send them folks who need hunting gear, and they send us folks who need specialized tuning help.

I almost forgot: We do offer Dead Down Wind products and Scent Crusher bags. We place the scent-eliminating sprays and body products near our sales counter, and they make good impulse buys.

Ozone products take a little more work to sell. People don’t come in asking for them. We use and believe in them, so we try to educate our customers on the technology. That’s our approach.


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