Fall Whitetail Hunting Sales Preview


Image: O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc.

If you do a quick online search, you’ll find several articles with opinions on the latest, greatest, most popular whitetail deer hunting products for this fall. From boots to gloves to binoculars, the list can go on and on. But what products are hunters really coming in and asking for this year? Three retailers share what trending products their customers are seeking, while also lending insight to how they are marketing these items to get hunters into their stores.

Gordy & Sons Outfitters Houston, Texas


Andy Packmore, manager of Gordy & Sons Outfitters, offered his take. 

According to Packmore, one of his best-selling products is specialty clothing with different camouflage options for each situation. 

“Sitka is one of our biggest vendors. We do incredibly well with them,” he said. “The nice thing is they have multiple camo patterns specific to regions or types of game the client is targeting. It’s a large part of our business.”

He has observed many specialty clothing companies have become more specific in types of camouflage patterns and more advanced fabrics.

“The specialty fabrics and patterns help keep people more comfortable when they’re out hunting, allowing them to hunt longer and in worse conditions, while still staying comfortable. It’s a real game changer,” he clarified.


When asked about his marketing plans, Packmore talked about what no longer serves him and what works best now.

“We’ve shifted to marketing with social media more than anything now,” he said. “We do a little print ad here in the local newspaper for a couple of very specific things that target our wing shooters, as it’s a sizeable part of our business. With social media, we seem to get very tangible results. It’s so hard to track anything you get from print these days, so we try to focus on driving our dollars to our website. Our web sales keep growing, so optimizing it is a priority.”

Attending in-person industry events represents another avenue for Gordy & Sons to keep its brand visible to consumers.

“We also set up at shows such as the Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International to hit higher-end clients. Those shows have been really successful for us and help generate new customers,” he stated.

Packmore shared that they are mostly utilizing Instagram along with a small amount of Facebook marketing. He reports their social media posts and product reviews are the most successful because they bring immediate results, with 10–15 calls about a product.

“Obviously, you have to be really careful with how you advertise on social media. You can’t mention the word ‘gun’ and you have to describe products in a way that doesn’t flag them, but we really do well with it,” he disclosed.

Packmore also said word of mouth is their best advertisement. 

“Our reputation for customer service has really helped build our customer base,” he shared. 

Tuned-in staff is essential to success today, Packmore concluded.

“Having a very qualified staff and keeping them trained on the products is one of the main reasons for our success,” he said. “They can explain the technology to clients, such as why a customer might want multiple layers when they’re going out as opposed to one warm jacket, or why they need a certain style of boot. Their knowledge is crucial.”

John’s Sport Center Pittsburg, Kan.


Adam Gariglietti, manager at John’s Sport Center in Pittsburg, Kan., believes this year’s trends will be consistent with many of the same ones he observed last year.

“That would be optics,” he said. “It seems like everybody you know was willing to sacrifice a few dollars and buy higher-end optics. The demand for lower-end optics seems to be almost non-existent, at least for our store anyway. People either want to improve the optics they already have on their firearm or they are looking at investing in the optic they wish they would have bought the first time around.”

Gariglietti noted another trend they are seeing is the move to larger-caliber guns.

“We continually order .350 Legends and a lot of .30-caliber rifles as well as a lot of .308. We’ve always been a 6.5-caliber world before, but it seems like we went kind of the opposite way this year. The guns also need to be threaded because hunters want a muzzle brake or suppressor on them. That really surprised us because there is no required legal reason to have to use them here. People just want them.”


As for advertising, Gariglietti echoed Packmore’s comments; they focus on social media. However, unlike the other retailers, John’s Sport Center invests in radio ads.

Kentucky Outdoorsman Archery Corbin, Ky.


We didn’t forget about bow hunting in this conversation. Terry Shumate, archery manager at Kentucky Outdoorsman Archery (Corbin, Ky.), elaborated on trending items in this category.

Shumate reported two particular bows are currently the most in-demand items.

“The Hoyt RX-8 and Mathews LIFT bows are pretty hot and sweet,” he remarked. “They are both new-and-improved bows, and customers waited on these models for a couple of years. They’re really excited both companies came out with these this year.”

Along with other product features, Hoyt’s website describes the RX-8 bow as a lightweight 4.4 lbs. The Mathews LIFT is also lightweight and available in two SKUs: the 29.5″ model weighs 3.99 lbs.; the 33″ model is 4.26 lbs.

Another product Shumate recalled trending last year and is continuing to trend this year is tree saddles. 

“It’s a new form of treestand hunting. It’s basically a suspension product; you hang on a rope and it has a little saddle seat and it’s getting really popular,” he said. “It’s also lightweight, so you are only carrying 5 lbs. instead of 30 lbs.”

He shared the top-selling brands at his store are Trophyline, Latitude and Tethrd. In looking at reviews of tree saddles, weight is one of the major factors in deciding the pros and cons of each one, along with comfort while sitting in them, and of course, price.

Lightweight appears to be a strong feature customers are looking for in both bows and types of treestands.


As for marketing, Shumate echoed some of what the other retailers said. Kentucky Outdoorsman utilizes only a small amount of social media. The reason is simply because of outdoor product reviewers and their social media presence. 

“I don’t have to advertise anything; people already know about it. They basically see them on the Outdoor Channel and all the hunting videos, and they just come in looking for them,” he explained.

Your Customers, Your Plan

As you can see, marketing plans don’t work the same for every retailer and their particular customer base. Your customers are the best gauge to highlight which products are trending, as well as the best form of advertising to reach them. 

Keep an eye on their response to your marketing plan and be prepared to alter the plan and shift it as necessary. When a customer shows up for a specific product, it’s crucial your staff can speak about the merits of other products they may need as well. 

Good sales experiences such as these will keep customers coming back for more expert advice from your knowledgeable staff. Your excellent reputation will beat out any other marketing plan.

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