Business Of Hunting

Jim Rauscher Knows Business And How To Target The Hunting Market.

Hunting continues to make a comeback, an encouraging sign after years of level, or declining, sales. Last year saw hunting licenses increase by more than half a million, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Developing a strategy for how to bolster sales to new and veteran hunters is vital for turning high profit margins this fall.

Jim Rauscher, owner and president of Joe’s Sporting Goods in St. Paul, Minn., focuses on making the most of the hunting market, with detailed planning, enhanced customer service and extensive inventory.

Spend a few minutes with Rauscher, and he will tell you that identifying his top-selling hunting products and meeting customer demand is only half the battle. Staying on top of trends in the hunting market and identifying hot products is crucial during hunting season.

“It’s so important to specialize for your area,” Rauscher said. “Dealers can miss out by limiting their hunting inventory. I go into a lot of gun shops and as I’m shopping around, I see the same basic stuff. They need to find niche products the big-box stores don’t have.”

At Joe’s, hunting is big business. The store’s well-appointed showrooms feature an extensive inventory of firearms, ammunition, optics, bows and vast numbers of hunting accessories, including clothing and boots.

Rauscher has seen an increase in hunting in his region, although it’s been subtle. Firearm sales to hunters remain steady, with slightly stronger sales in bowhunting. In hunting firearms, shotguns are the strong sellers at Joe’s.

“Our sales are probably a three-to-two ratio, shotgun over rifle,” Rauscher said. “Shotguns have the longer season, so hunters will choose those for pheasant, ducks, geese and small game.”
By J.K. Autry

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