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Shooting Industry October 2012 - Page 48

BowTech Assassin Gun Dealers: Benefit From Aaron Barton’s Bowhunting Sales Skills By J.K. Autry N ocked & Loaded in Lampasas, Texas, offers a different perspective for firearms dealers who are considering carrying bowhunting equipment. Located in the national registered historic district of Lampasas, the shop originally only sold archery equipment. Later, its owners acquired an FFL license to sell firearms — an opposite approach of many gun dealers who venture into the bowhunting market. Aaron Barton, Nocked & Loaded’s manager and lead archery tech, believes that no matter which comes first — archery or firearms — the rationale behind offering both options to customers remains the same. “If somebody is a gun hunter and he switches to a bow, it becomes a transitional tool to get him to hunt a month earlier,” Barton said. “It gets him into the woods sooner than if he solely hunted with firearms, and that helps generate more sales.” Thanks in part to the extended hunting season offered by traditional bows and crossbows in Texas, Barton sees a 70-30 ratio of archery sales over firearms. In addition to the extra month of hunting, Barton believes bowhunting is also rising in popularity due to increasing ammunition costs. “The cost of ammo has become so high. You can’t even go out and shoot a box or two of ammo without spending a minimum of $20 to $40,” Barton said. “Most people with an AR just aren’t going to go out and shoot a box of 20 rounds and be satisfied. They want to pull the trigger quickly. With archery, they can retrieve their ‘ammo,’ so there’s a cost savings.” A Family Affair Barton has also seen more youngsters — both boys and girls — venturing into bowhunting and archery, due in part to the popularity of recent movies like “The Hunger Games,” which features 16-year-old huntress Katniss Everdeen, and “The Avengers,” with superhero Hawkeye using his bow and arrow to save the world. “It’s a flip of the switch. Normally husbands will get their kids into bowhunting, but now kids are bringing in their parents. The wives are getting into it a lot more, too,” Barton said. “Archery Chad Gee (left), archery tech, and Aaron Barton, manager and lead archery tech, prepare bows for customers at Nocked & Loaded’s Bow Center. 48 OCTOBER 2012 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL

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