Call-In Turkey Sales

Provide Education, Large Inventory To Reach More Customers.

Turkey hunters love “stuff.” They collect calls, decoys and anything camo. Knowing what they want and having it on-hand means satisfaction for your customers and a healthy bottom line for you.

John Annoni is an avid turkey hunter and an educator in the Allentown School District in Pennsylvania. He developed an afterschool conservation curriculum that grew into a 501(c)(3) organization named “Camp Compass.” It’s a unified effort that introduces urban students in grades 5 through 12 to outdoor activities of all kinds, including shooting and hunting.

The number-one thing Annoni would like to see retailers have for turkey hunters is a way to “test drive” mouth calls before he buys one.

“I know that sounds crazy,” he said. “But sometimes I go through 10 mouth calls before I find one I like. I wish someone would put out a template that shows the base model so I could find out what it blows like before I buy it.”

The second thing he wishes retailers would do is put together “emergency packs” for turkey hunters.
“Sometimes a turkey hunter is taking someone for the first time and even an experienced turkey hunter may forget his backpack,” he said. “A retailer could put together a combo pack that includes a facemask, pair of gloves, hat and call. Retailers can bundle products the same way phone companies bundle services — put a group of products together so the customer just has to pick up one thing. Retailers need to do whatever they can, so consumers feel they’re getting plenty of bang for their buck.”


Turkey hunter “emergency packs” of essential accessories
can help dealers boost add-on sales.


New for 2015, Weatherby’s SA-459 turkey shotgun features a
22-inch vent rib chrome-lined barrel, removable Picatinny
rails and Realtree’s Xtra Green camouflage pattern. It’s
chambered for 3-inch magnum loads and available in 12- or 20-gauge.

Maintain A Healthy Cache

When it comes to guns, ammo and accessories, Annoni advises dealers to keep their shelves stocked.
“Experienced turkey hunters know what they like, and they’re going to buy it,” he said. “If they’ve killed birds with #5 shot, that’s what they’re going to pattern their guns with. Retailers just need to have a variety of shells on the shelf so hunters can find what they need.”

Retailers never have enough shooting sticks, Annoni said.

“Many people would use them,” he said. “For turkey season you’re really talking about monopods.”
Annoni knows a lot of hunters aren’t able to afford special turkey guns, so they use all-purpose shotguns to hunt turkeys. For these hunters, retailers should offer choke tubes.

“I shoot an old goose gun for turkeys,” he said. “I’m not going to buy just a turkey gun; I’m going to put a choke on the shotgun I have and make it a turkey gun. If I had a turkey gun, I’d use it for geese. In this economy, people have a favorite gun and they’re going to use it for everything.”
Because of his emphasis on working with youth, Annoni would also like to see retailers carry more youth equipment.

“I want to say to retailers, ‘Would you please stock some 20-gauge stuff?’ I hate going three places looking for 20-gauge shells,” he said.

Kids are the future of our industry, and Annoni recognizes it’s important for retailers to pay attention to their needs as well.

“We need to encourage dads to take kids out,” he said. “Part of this gets back to bundling. If a retailer would bundle products together that could be used for kids, the dads will be more apt to buy them.”


Primos Hunting Grand Slam Pot Call-Osceola


Selling decoys, like the Penny Snood Feeder Hen Decoy from Hunter’s
Specialties, can help dealers attract avid turkey hunters.

Education Is Key

Chris Parrish is a three-time world champion turkey caller and is on the pro teams of Knight & Hale Game Calls, Mossy Oak, Redhead and Browning. He’s also the brand manager for Knight & Hale. As such, he has his finger on the pulse of what turkey hunters are talking about and what they want to see when they go into a gun store.

Parrish said the biggest thing retailers are missing out on is being a point of education for turkey hunters. Providing education can result in a better hunting experience for your customers, which means a more satisfied customer base and increased sales.

“Dealers need to be a source of point-of-purchase information, such as information to help a customer choose one call over another,” he said. “They also need to provide information about products that are particularly needed by turkey hunters. For example, not only do you need to learn how to use a mouth call, you also need to have several different types of calls with you in the woods, whether that’s a mouth call, friction call, box call or a push/pull call.”

A variety of turkey calls will contribute to your customer’s hunting success.

“Every one of those calls has a nuance of its own and a call of its own, and possibly only one of those calls will be the call the turkey will respond to and come to on that day. If your customer doesn’t have a selection of calls in his vest, then he may not have what’s going to make him successful that day.”

Parrish thinks part of the reason retailers don’t provide more education stems from a lack of materials created by manufacturers and suppliers.

“I think suppliers sometimes don’t provide the information retailers need to educate the consumer,” he said. “But the retailer also needs to allow us to provide that information so the consumer can come in, read it, analyze it and pick a product.”

Parrish recommended suppliers and retailers should get on the same page when it comes to educational point-of-sale materials.

“It would be beneficial for both,” he said. “Both the supplier and the retailer would sell more product, and both would come out ahead of the game.”


John Annoni (center) founded the Camp Compass Academy as an
afterschool conservation program to introduce urban students
to outdoor activities, such as turkey hunting.


Federal’s new 3rd Degree turkey load uses a multi-shot,
three-stage payload to create patterns for close- and
long-range shots.

Don’t Miss Out

When it comes to products, retailers sometimes miss out on sales because they don’t stock full product lines from their vendors.

“They pick out hot sellers, which is great, but there also are tried and true products that have been in the supplier’s product line for a long time,” Parrish said. “Although some of those products may not sell large numbers, you still have people who come in and grab those products. If the retailers don’t have those products available, then the retailer, the supplier and the consumer miss out.”
Some suppliers provide lists of products to retailers with information about what sells well.

“Knight & Hale has lists of products that tend to have great sell-through and good consumer value,” he said. “We call those ‘vanilla ice cream.’ We can go into a store and say, ‘These are the five key spring items that you need to always have on your shelf, simply because they have great sell-through. If you don’t have them, you’re going to be missing a sale somewhere along the line.’” Obviously specific items will differ, depending on your location in the country.

When it comes to increasing sales of turkey hunting products, you need both strong inventory and a way to educate your customers. Provide both, and you’ll have a win-win situation for yourself and your customers.
By Carolee Anita Boyles

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