Last-minute hunting sales help small sporting goods shops

We talk with workers at The Reel Shot in Appleton about what hunters are looking for and the shortage of some ammunition
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:33 AM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Local sports shops are seeing a boost in business during gun deer season... oftentimes right before hunters hit the road for deer camp.

“Some last-minute hunt issues. So, lost range finder. Broke this. Bumped my scope. So, stuff like that. Emergency moments,” Andrew Puckett, firearms manager at The Reel Shot in Appleton, said.

Workers notice seasonal upticks in sales and there’s been a surge in foot traffic for months now since bow season started in September.

“Some people tend to avoid large box store environments where they maybe aren’t getting helped as much as they need to because there’s 10 times more people,” Puckett explained.

He said he sold about 20 guns leading up to opening day. He also said the frequency hasn’t been the same after a jump in gun sales during the pandemic.

Right now ammunition is the top seller... but some shelves could be empty depending on where you shop. According to Puckett, there have been a high number of corporate mergers, takeovers and buyouts leading to a supply-and-demand issue.

He said ammunition is easier to come by now compared to the last few years but it’s not back to normal.

“The big thing is that the prices are still crazy. So I have some guys going, ‘Why is no one ordering these slugs that I use anymore when they used to be available everywhere?’ Well they’re still available, but the price is 2 to 3 times higher,” Puckett said.

Puckett said he’s ordering the most popular calibers every day to keep up with the demand as hunters hope to fill their tags.

“Deer are moving. A lot of our coworkers already got a chance to go out and hunt and some of them got their biggest bucks to date!”

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