Years of conservation and planning have resulted in an increase in the wild turkey population in many parts of the country. States that used to have strict limits on the number of turkey tags issued have opened up their hunting opportunities, and the popularity of turkey hunting has increased substantially in the last couple years.
Since most states have more than one season, going after wild turkeys makes sense to women who want to hunt as much as possible, and get the most out of their equipment.
The female clientele at Capra’s Sporting Goods in Blaine, Minn., are active turkey hunters, according to Jerry Riege, store manager. Many of them are deer hunters as well, Reige says, so they’re very interested in multiuse camo clothing. Browning’s line of women’s clothing sells well at his store.
When it comes to ammunition, Riege always encourages women to buy the best-quality ammunition they can afford.
“The new 20-gauge turkey loads are so much better than before,” he said. “You’re not limiting yourself by using better 20-gauge ammo.”
Riege is a big fan of the Winchester turkey loads and recommends them to his customers.
Compact shotguns are the most popular among women turkey hunters at Capra’s.
“Ninety-nine percent of women buy a compact shotgun,” Riege said. “They have a shorter stock, they’re lighter weight, the forend is pulled back closer and they’re easier for women to shoulder.”
Reige has learned to refer to these shotguns as “compact” rather than “youth” models — too many customers were put off by the idea of a “youth” gun for a grown woman.
“The selling point is they are lighter weight and the stock fits better,” Reige said.
He finds most women are successful with the Mossberg 500 Bantam or the Remington 870.
Weight is also a consideration with decoys, Riege says. Lightweight Feather Flex decoys from Flambeau have been well received by women turkey hunters, because they are lightweight and easy to set up.
Become One-Stop Turkey Headquarters
Jeromy Dinsmore, sales/buyer at Keystone Country Store in Fort Loudon, Pa., says interest in turkey hunting is growing in his area, and quite a few of his female customers are turkey hunters. He says they buy all-purpose shotguns, and Remington and Mossberg 20-gauge shotguns are best sellers — especially in youth/compact sizes.
Keystone Country Store carries a full line of sporting goods, and since most of Dinsmore’s customers like to hunt solo, it is important to be able to equip them with all the turkey-hunting essentials — from calls and guns to decoys.
“We try to set women up with everything they need to do it on their own,” he said. “It’s an escape.”
Women who want to dampen felt recoil will be pleased to learn about Mossberg’s partnership with Mathews to develop a new recoil-reduction system for their pump-action shotguns. Seven Mossberg shotguns feature a Mossberg Dual Comb (low- and high-profile inserts) stock design using Mathews Harmonic Damper technology and a reengineered thermoplastic elastomer recoil pad. The Mossberg 835 Turkey shotgun features a 20-percent reduction in felt recoil.
The dealers at Keystone Country Store and Capra’s Sporting Goods say they don’t consider the women’s clothing market to be a big part of their business; however, having a hunting vest sized for women is important and sends the message that women’s hunting needs will be taken care of.
Making your store a one-stop turkey hunting headquarters for women can be accomplished by stocking a few thoughtful items designed to lighten a woman’s load. Many women prefer to shoot with an all-purpose gun — emphasizing the importance of stocking compact shotguns that are easy for women to carry and shoot.
The National Wild Turkey Federation website has a fantastic Turkey Hunters’ Checklist that would be great to print out and share with your customers. The list covers everything from equipment to clothing, and is useful for dealers to make sure they are meeting turkey hunters’ needs. It also makes a great shopping list for customers who are preparing for the upcoming season.
Dealers can even personalize the list by tailoring it to items stocked in their store. Note on the list where an item is located and which items are currently on sale. That makes it easier for customers to get what they need — and, hopefully, they’ll purchase a few additional items they didn’t know they needed.
Find the checklist at www.nwtf.org/images/checklist.pdf.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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