Stocking and Selling Turkey Hunting Gear

Tips for stocking and marketing spring turkey hunting gear in your archery shop.

Stocking and Selling Turkey Hunting Gear

Decoys, crossbows, broadheads and targets are just a few of the items of interest to archery turkey hunters.

Spring turkey hunting offers archers mettle-testing challenges and exhilarating close-up action. Archery retailers catering to the needs of customers who partake in the excitement can help hunters have more fun afield while making registers ring. But only if they stock products that make sense for their market, and promote their offerings with focused marketing campaigns that hit the bull’s-eye rather than veer wildly off target.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of products either aimed directly at or offering incidental benefit to archery turkey hunters. Like so many other vertical segments of the archery market, a wide variety of gear helps hunters in their quest for success. While you might get lucky traipsing the woods in street clothes, most hunters know the odds of bagging a gobbler skyrocket with the right stuff. 

Thanks to a plethora of educational and entertainment options from old-fashioned TV to countless websites, YouTube channels, and social media platforms, many buyers walk in the store with a decent idea of what they need. As in so many other types of business, it’s then the retailer’s job to take that buying journey to the next level — and hopefully seal the deal. This is aided by properly presenting a selection of high-quality gear. Equally important is employing knowledgeable sales staff who are passionate about the sport and excited to offer personalized explanations of the merchandise and its benefits that are tailored to each buyer’s needs and preferences.

Before all this can happen, you have to strike a winning combination of products, services and marketing to pull customers in the door. Sam Oftedahl knows the drill. New owner of Capra’s Sporting Goods in Blaine, Minnesota, Oftedahl relies on 16 years of retail and manufacturing experience in the outdoor industry to guide his strategies for managing his archery turkey hunting gear and other hunting and fishing product lines. He also leans on a lifelong love of the great outdoors and desire to help others make great memories afield.

Before purchasing Capra’s Sporting Goods in Blaine, Minnesota, Sam Oftedahl (right) had worked 16 years in the outdoor industry, both retail and manufacturing.
Before purchasing Capra’s Sporting Goods in Blaine, Minnesota, Sam Oftedahl (right) had worked 16 years in the outdoor industry, both retail and manufacturing.

“My dad always took my brother and me hunting and fishing,” he recalled. “That strong family tradition continues with my own children (currently four with one on the way) and always will.” It also affects how he views his responsibility to ensure customers are armed for success.

“We treat every bow and other product sold or serviced like it was our own,” he continued. “We want the best possible outcomes for our customers, and never want it said that a ruined hunt or missed opportunity was our fault.”

Capra’s has been a fixture of the northern Minneapolis suburbs for more than 40 years.
Capra’s has been a fixture of the northern Minneapolis suburbs for more than 40 years.

Building on Success

Founded in 1980, Capra’s is an established outdoor retailer in the northern Minneapolis suburbs. The store draws plenty of local residents, but also benefits from its location on State Highway 65 to tap traffic from commuters and northbound hunters slogging their way along this heavily traveled and frequently clogged artery running from the City of Lakes northward into the central Minnesota heartland and beyond.

Oftedahl worked with the Capra family for 7 months before taking over the business in February 2022. “Capra’s has such a legacy in our area, it was easier for me to build on it rather than start a new one. But continuing that legacy requires change. For example, we’re in the process of adding e-commerce sales through a state-of-the-art website that will soon be online. My goals also include branching out with other locations.”

Opportunities to test their skills and compete with other archers on Ranges and TechnoHUNT systems bring hunters through the door and build affinity for the retailer’s brand.
Opportunities to test their skills and compete with other archers on Ranges and TechnoHUNT systems bring hunters through the door and build affinity for the retailer’s brand.

Oftedahl is keenly aware that Capra’s didn’t survive more than 4 decades of competing against numerous other pro shops and big box retailers by accident. His goal of retaining current customers while growing the base includes continuing the store’s tradition of top-notch service and merchandise — complemented by an aggressive mix of marketing and expansion of opportunities for customers to fuel their archery passions. “Besides retail sales, our archery department features upgraded ranges and a new TechnoHUNT system, with leagues for both,” he said. “We also have a full-service bow shop offering paper tuning, timing, leveling, everything.”

On the marketing front, Oftedahl promotes turkey gear and other product lines on an expanded social media platform that’s flush with fresh video content. The mix includes how-to and product knowledge educational videos plus information on sales. Department heads will be featured experts, with Oftedahl serving as the host. The video library will be housed on YouTube but also leveraged on Facebook, Instagram and other popular channels.

“We live in a world where everyone goes to Google or YouTube to learn something,” he said. “We’re making a serious investment in tapping that traffic.”

Toward that end, Oftedahl works with a third-party provider to help create and distribute content. To ensure this content speaks to customers and maintains brand standards, Oftedahl maintains quality control by “having a hand in every script and storyline.” Additional marketing efforts include a new customer loyalty program and e-blasts on deals, dates to remember, tips, and more. “I don’t want to fill people’s inboxes with spam, we want them to look forward to our emails,” he said.

When selecting products for spring turkey hunting, he focuses on archery gear that fills sweet spots missed by larger retailers. “The way I look at it, big box stores like ‘farm and fleet’ type outlets have cheaper entry level stuff to fill space. When I stock, I listen to the customers. Big box stores follow a planogram, we follow the customer.” One-on-one discussions in-store or at tradeshows provide guidance, as does information gleaned from podcasts, social media posts, YouTube and forums, he says. “Relationships with manufacturers and reps also yield advice on hot sellers.”

For the 2024 spring turkey hunting season, Oftedahl is excited about the opportunities to sell a variety of products. His top picks in the following categories include:

Crossbows from top brands such as TenPoint helped fuel double-digit increases in Capra’s archery hunting sales.
Crossbows from top brands such as TenPoint helped fuel double-digit increases in Capra’s archery hunting sales.


“We had a gigantic increase in crossbow sales when Minnesota legalized them for everyone — with no age restrictions — during the entire archery deer season,” he said. “We literally couldn’t keep them in stock. I expect the trend to continue this spring for turkeys. Crossbows add a fun new dynamic to the sport. Plus, they’re a game-changer for youth hunters or older hunters with physical challenges who can’t shoot a traditional bow and don’t want to shoot a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun.”

TenPoint and Ravin are his top-selling brands. “We sell more TenPoint than Ravin, but they’re both among the best crossbows out there.” Along with quality and performance, one of the most popular features for hunters, he says, is a safe and easy-to-use de-cocking solution such as TenPoint’s ACUslide and Ravin’s Versa-Draw systems. “These are so much more convenient than older systems; customers love them.”

Turkey Decoys

Realistic decoys that help lure wary gobblers into bow range are a must for archers. “Avian-X makes some of the most realistic on the market, particularly when the sun hits them,” Oftedahl said, adding with a laugh, “I’ve done double-takes at tom decoys even though I was the one who set them out.”

To offer customers a variety of choices in application and detail, the company offers two series, the Lifelike Collapsible Decoy (LCD) and HDR (Heavy-Duty Realism) line. Retail staff whose expertise can guide customers on the finer points of choosing and deploying decoys — such as when to use a flock graced by a full strutter, versus when to take a more subtle approach with a single feeding hen — can boost success rates and cement customer relationships.

Turkey Calls

Calls are another must-have for hunters and a must-stock for retailers. “Anything Bone Collector is hot,” Oftedahl said, though he notes that Dead End’s diaphragm, friction and locator calls are solid choices as well. “Dead End calls are phenomenal. But Michael Waddell is the godfather of turkey hunting and puts out a dang good call.” Stocking both lines offers retailers a fistful of top-shelf products backed by the companies’ extensive branding campaigns for added product recognition and affinity.


“With a crossbow or vertical bow, you can’t go wrong with the G5 Megameat Broadhead,” said Oftedahl. “It’s one of the best for turkeys, providing a massive exit wound. The birds don’t know what hit them. Plus, they have a wickedly efficient chisel tip, fly really well, and don’t open up until impact, thanks to the customer-friendly snaplock collar.”


“I’m a fan of sitting against a tree, but blinds are a great choice for a number of spring turkey hunting scenarios — for example when introducing young hunters to the sport or other times when a blind’s ability to conceal motion is a factor,” he said. “Barronett, Primal and Primos are all top brands and great sellers.


Durability and ease of use are key considerations with targets. BIGshot tops Oftedahl’s list of block-style targets. “They make one of the best—any arrow shot with a crossbow or vertical bow can be pulled out with ease. The last thing customers want to do is waste energy trying to wrestle arrows out of their targets.” On the 3-D front, he recommends Rinehart Targets for rugged features such as UV/weather protection and self-healing foam that provide long-lasting performance. The turkey lineup includes alert, gobbling, strutting, and standard options retailing from $189 to $581.

Tick Prevention Products

Tick-borne diseases and conditions transmitted through the bite of an infected tick are a clear and present danger to spring turkey hunters. The list of potential nightmares includes Lyme disease, alpha-gel syndrome, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and more. Oftedahl views retailers as a last line of defense against such threats.  

“Tick bites can be devastating,” he said, explaining that educating archers and other hunters about the risks — and providing products to prevent them — is a win-win for retailers and customers. “Blocker Outdoors’ new Finisher Turkey Series is a prime example of tick-fighting products.”

The Finisher lineup offers hunters excellent concealment by cloaking the entire body in Mossy Oak Obsession or Bottomland camouflage. But the inner sleeves and ankle areas of Finisher jackets and pants also sport internal stretch cuffs to keep ticks and other creepy crawlies at bay. Coupled with a proven repellent like permethrin, such clothing helps prevent bites from disease-bearing ticks and other insects. 

Stocking repellents is a great option for added sales, with plenty of options to put on the shelf. Permethrin-based repellents are a mainstay, but Picardin is another choice that appeals to consumers concerned about toxicity and can be used directly on the skin. The active ingredient mimics the Piperine compound contained in pepper plants and is a defensive weapon against ticks in the turkey woods. 

Some hunting personalities, such as the iconic Melissa Bachman, promote doubling down on tick defenses by spraying garments with permethrin and applying Picardin to the skin. Messaging from manufacturers and representatives like Bachman can be reinforced and personalized by in-store sales staff. It’s worth noting that while some permethrin products are one-and-done applications for the season, Picardin has much shorter active duty life, often 12 hours or less, so applications prior to every day afield are recommended — ideally leading to repeat purchases as well.

BOG’s sturdy and stable FieldPod is lightweight and easy to use.
BOG’s sturdy and stable FieldPod is lightweight and easy to use.

Sidebar: Shooting Rests Boost Sales And Success

Shooting rests help crossbow hunters steady their aim on spring gobblers. They also help retailers ring up bonus sales while boosting customers’ odds of success. 


Tripods offer ultimate hands-free stability from a fixed position such as a ground blind. BOG’s FieldPod (above) ranks high among Oftedahl’s favorites. Made of aluminum, the FieldPod is lightweight and easy to set up with independently adjustable legs, tension knob-controlled tilt up to 45 degrees, and a cast aluminum hub offering 360-degree rotation.

Another option is Primos’ Trigger Stick Gen3 Crossbow Tall Tripod Shooting Stick, which toggles from 24 to 62 inches with easy, one-hand adjustments. Added amenities include a widened V-yoke for quick, stable support, rotating joint for seamless panning, and new contoured, no-slip grip.

Other styles meriting serious consideration for the spring turkey hunting market include:


The one-legged wonders are compact, lightweight, and versatile. For example, TenPoint’s telescoping, two-section SteddyEddy Crossbow Monopod System can be anchored to the ground when seated in a ground blind (or treestand when deer hunting) or supported by your midsection while standing. It attaches to the crossbow with a 360-degree rapid-pivot connector with snap-on connection, and clamps conveniently beneath the stock when not in use.


Bipods are also extremely versatile and offer another leg to stand on. Swagger’s QD42 extends from 14 to 42 inches and attaches directly to the crossbow via a quick-detach system for excellent control and maneuverability while maintaining a proper shooting position.

The friendly, knowledgeable staff at Capra’s help guide customers to products that fit their needs and preferences.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff at Capra’s help guide customers to products that fit their needs and preferences.

Photos by Dan Johnson


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