Think about it: New camo patterns, that must-have big-game rifle, game-specific cartridges, technology-packed laser rangefinders and versatile carry packs comprise just a fraction of the many products your hunting customers are scouting out year round.
JOSH DOBYNS, Shooting Sports Buyer
Kittery Trading Post
While we may be in the "summer doldrums," it's actually the ideal the time to start preparing your hunting season inventory. According to Kittery Trading Post Shooting Sports Buyers Bryan Hurst and Josh DoByns, successful dealers regard hunting season sales as a year-round effort.
Located in Kittery Maine, Kittery Trading Post has been a mainstay in the Northeast for nearly 80 years. The store does brisk business with hunters, especially those in New Hampshire and Maine. Whitetail is "hands down" the most popular game in the area, according to Hurst, and the store attracts a fair amount of bear and moose hunters.
Hurst oversees the orders for firearms, ammunition, reloading and optics, while DoByns handles archery, hunting clothing and firearm accessories. Together, they provide an experienced perspective of how to integrate hunting season sales year round.
"We don't approach hunting as seasonal," Hurst shared. "It's about looking at it as a 12-month season, and not just T have to do it all in three months.' There are too many people doing this; they're not able to get the product during those three months because the manufacturers are trying to supply everybody. It's kind of a domino effect from that. Anyone I've worked with who looks and thinks about it as a 12-month season has always been successful."
Hurst, who also has a sales rep background, pointed out hunters will often be on the lookout for new products, even if it's out of season--benefitting those retailers who maintain a current selection of products in this category.
"One thing retailers should realize: hunters are not just buying hunting stuff during hunting season. Yes, that's when they're going to buy the most, but they're always looking, shopping and thinking about hunting," he noted. "As a hunter myself, if I see a product and it catches my eye or if it's something I need, I'm going to get it--no matter if it's April, June or right during the season in the fall."
Kittery Trading Post maintains an expansive supply of camo, and DoByns has observed a shift in recent years.
"We've seen a lot of manufacturers move...