Listless economy can’t stop hunting sales

Published 5:39 am Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By Staff
Some cutting back, but election year spurs others to buy
Staff Writer
When Wall Street is in a funk, deer don’t act any differently and hunters don’t alter their behavior much either, local shop owners say.
The number of people buying and selling rifles in his shop hasn’t changed much, in spite of the economy, he said Monday. Firearms season for deer began Saturday in eastern North Carolina except for part of Dare County.
And the number of people headed afield this fall hasn’t slumped, said Sgt. Ed Alston of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Based on archery season for deer, which began Sept. 13 in Beaufort County, as well as other hunting seasons, he said hunting numbers remain strong.
Joey Pinkham was in Warren’s Sport Headquarters on West Main Street Monday to buy his hunting license.
He gets out as much as he can, but it isn’t much, he said.
Warren’s actually has seen a slight increase in sales, said owner Tracy Warren.
“We’re up about 6 percent according to the computer right now, of course you have an election year right now,” he said.
Election years usually either help or hurt gun sales tremendously, he said. This year he’s hearing concerns from customers that Barack Obama might institute stricter gun controls or higher gun taxes if elected, he said.
At Dellinger’s, tighter gun control laws requiring national background checks have cut the number of people willing to pawn guns, Thomas said.
Gun repairs at Warren’s are up as well, as more folks work to get slightly damaged firearms working again, rather than selling them and getting something new, Warren said.
The most commonly needed repair is general cleaning and maintenance, he said.
That matches what Steve Williams, owner of Awesome Outdoors on West Fifth Street in Washington, has experienced.
Williams’ business replaced the former Washington Marine and Sporting Center 10 weeks ago, so it doesn’t have the license it needs to sell firearms yet, he said. He hopes to have the license in a week, he said.
But other items have been selling well, including ammunition and rigs for flounder and trout, Williams said.
But Alston said the best hunting hasn’t come yet. High temperatures and a bright moon have been prompting deer to move at night, instead of during the day, when they can legally be hunted, he said.
That should change in coming weeks, he said, as temperatures drop and deer activity patterns change.
He said, “We’re getting ready to get the rut to start kicking in the next couple of weeks.”