2017: It’s a Tough Economy for the Gun & Hunting Industry Right Now

2017 tough ecnomyThe health care chaos last week on Capitol Hill notwithstanding, things have been looking pretty good since President Trump’s election last November. The stock market is up and consumer confidence is high as the President reduces burdensome regulations on business and moves to act on tax reform this summer.

But ironically the election of our first pro-gun president in 8 years has slowed the sale of firearms and softened the overall shooting/hunting market. In recent years, with anti-gun Barack Obama at the helm and with the prospect of Hillary looming for another 8 years, law-abiding and freedom–loving Americans had a deep and well-founded concern that their gun rights were in serious jeopardy, and so we purchased guns and hoarded ammunition at a record pace.

But now, with President Trump in the White House and our Second Amendment rights secure for now, firearms sales have slowed and as a consequence cast a pale over the entire industry.

Colt, Savage, Remington and Federal Premium recently announced that they are constricting business and laying off employees, and many industry experts predict that other manufacturers will follow suit.

The record sales and profits from firearms and especially ammunition of the last 5 years carried over into the general outdoor and hunting market, and helped to account for decent to good sales. For example, a guy walked into a Cabela’s store to buy 3 boxes of ammo, and he picked up a new camo jacket and some other stuff on the way to the register. But many of those impulse buys have dried up and dried up fast.

In addition to declining gun/ammo sales is the overall retail industry’s struggles of 2017 and beyond. Namely, how do retailers with heavy investment in brick-and-mortar survive and grow in the Amazon world? You likely have empty storefronts in your hometown that thrived just 5 short years ago.

You might have heard that Gander Mountain recently declared bankruptcy, and as a part of that will close 32 of 162 retail stores in 11 different states. Click to see if a GM store near you is on the list to be shuttered.

Word is that Bass Pro Shops’ $4.5 billion deal to buy Cabela’s could be in jeopardy as federal regulators have requested more information from both parties. But most financial experts predict that the merger will still be approved and completed, most likely later this fall.

The bowhunting industry is not immune. The Outdoor Wire spoke with industry experts who pointed to significant problems facing the archery business and the considerable drop-off in bow and gear sales. One big reason—the trend of manufacturers toward high-end bows that cost $1,000 to $1,500. Not all hard-working hunters can fork out a good chunk of a mortgage payment for a new bow, so fewer bows are sold each year, and people are upgrading less and keeping their bows for 4 or 5 years.

While the gun/bow/hunting/outdoor industry is facing uncertain and tough economic times, there is light on the horizon. If President Trump can get our dysfunctional Congress to work together for once and approve meaningful tax reform for corporations and individuals alike this summer, and retroactive to January 1, 2017, the industry (and all retail) will receive an immediate boost. History shows that every time people get even a little more money in their pockets, they will spend some of it on their passions. There are no more passionate Americans than deer hunters. Give us back some more of our money and we’ll buy a new rifle or bow or trail camera or camo, just in time for the 2017-18 season.

As for the manufacturers, you will continue to see some constriction and shifting business strategies in the short term, but that can be a good thing. Smart business leaders step back, analyze changing market trends and then build and market products that people will buy in 2018, in this case quality and affordable guns and bows.

For retailers large and small, the future is inescapable and simple. We all still love to go to a Cabela’s,  Bass Pro or Gander store, and we love our local gun shop. We’ll still buy at those stores, but if a company is not heavily online and Mobile, they’re out of business or soon will be.

What about you? Are you spending less on gear? Buying more online? Will you purchase a new gun this year? Does a new bow cost too much?

Clinton’s Dismissive Anti-Hunting Remarks Offend All Sportsmen

hillary

Hillary Clinton was interrupted by a few animal rights protesters at a rally in Las Vegas last week. Secret Service agents rushed to her aid and the incident was diffused.

Clinton then joked that the kooky activists must have been there to protest Donald Trump. “Trump and his kids have killed a lot of animals,” she said. “Thank you for making that point.”

Hillary proceeded to screech that grating laugh, and the fawning crowd cheered wildly.

Well, I did not cheer when I heard those remarks on the radio. In 16 words, Hillary unabashedly trashed America’s 13 million hunters.

Not only were the remarks offensive and disrespectful to all sportsmen, in the literal sense “Trump and his kids” have shot a lot of game is just not true.  While Donald Jr. is a proud hunter and one of us—“If I could only choose one (type of hunting) I would have to say bowhunting for whitetails,” he said recently—I do not believe Eric, Ivanka and the others hunt and kill animals.

The only thing that matters is what the candidate says and does. While Donald Trump Sr. has stated openly that he does not hunt, he is on the record as saying that a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director he appoints would “ideally be a hunter” and under his watch “there would be no sale of public Western lands.” Those are substantive pro-hunting positions.

Not surprisingly Hillary’s comments, which dripped with sarcasm, are reflective of what the Washington Elites think of us and our lifestyle. They laugh and smirk and dismiss us as a bunch of ignorant, gun-toting rednecks “that kill a lot of animals.”

Does Hillary realize, or care, that America’s hunters and fishermen fund nearly 75% of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies? Does she know, or care, that through license fees and excise taxes on firearms and gear, sportsmen contribute $200 million per year for wildlife conservation?

While I remain offended by Hillary Clinton’s dismissive anti-hunting remarks, as a gun-toting redneck that kills a lot of animals I am used to that type of talk.

The only thing that matters is that this presidential election will be the most important one ever regarding the Second Amendment. While hard to believe, Hillary is farther left than Obama on our right to own and carry firearms.

Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, on guns and hunting the choice is clear.

Record Gun Sales Continue As Americans Fear Clinton Presidency

gun cabelasOver the past 7 years, a popular saying in the firearms industry has been, “Obama has been the best gun salesman we could have!” The President’s anti-gun rheteroic and actions have produced record gun sales that will no doubt continue, and likely increase substantially, as law-abiding Americans anticipate a win for Hillary this November.

As this article in the Washington Free Beacon points out, “Both President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have publicly expressed support for Australian-style gun confiscation measures. Clinton has also said the Supreme Court was wrong on Second Amendment gun rights protections…”

Let me repeat that: support for gun confiscation and wrong on Second Amendment gun rights.

“There is no doubt that the string of record monthly gun sales have been driven by the anti-rights agenda of the Obama Administration and the millions of dollars that Michael Bloomberg has spent assaulting the Second Amendment,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said. “Now add to that the fact that Hillary Clinton has doubled down in attacking gun ownership in her White House campaign and it is no surprise that we continue to hit new gun sales records.”

I repeat a third time: confiscation.

Regardless of your political stripes, remember that when you go to the ballot box in November.

There are 2 pro-gun candidates in the race. We blogged about Donald Trump’s position on the Second Amendment. The NRA endorsed Trump last month.

What about Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico?

Johnson said in 2012, “I’m one of those who believe the bumper sticker: If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing gun violence.”

On the Second Amendment, Johnson believes the right to bear arms is a basic Constitutional right and expresses the democratic principle of self-defense against tyrannical government.

There are many issues in this messy and crazy election, but on our guns and the Second Amendment, the choices are crystal clear.