For many people, enjoying the great outdoors means participating in sports like hunting or fishing. Although these are popular activities, if you’re thinking about opening a hunting and fishing store franchise, don’t take the bait — it may not be as good an investment as you think.

The Popularity of Fishing Can Lure You In

From the sports perspective, hunting and fishing do have avid fans. Based on recent stats from Outdoor Life magazine, recreational fishing was gaining some ground thanks to a surge of interest during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fishing was one of those outdoor activities on the “safe” to-do list back in 2020. As a result, fishing became a fun recreational sport to enjoy, whether that was fresh water or saltwater fishing. There are an estimated 49 million recreational anglers, according to the American Sportfishing Association, fishing lakes, rivers and oceans. However, that does not necessarily equate to a good financial investment for you.

Fishers, as hobbyists are often termed, do need gear like rods, reels, tackle boxes, fishing line, hooks, bobbers, lures — the list goes on. But big-box corporate stores like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Walmart are able to meet those needs often with affordable discounted prices, leaving little room in the market for smaller specialty stores or hunting and fishing franchise opportunities. The market is saturated and highly competitive.

On the Hunt for Profit Potential

When it comes to the sport of hunting, numbers are on the decline in the U.S. Based on figures from North Carolina State University, less than 4% of the country participates in hunting — that’s about 11 million people. Experts say there’s been a significant decline in the number of hunters over recent years because of urbanization, increased regulations, and lack of interest from the younger generation. There has also been an increase regarding the ethical concerns of hunting animals for sport and the dangers when hunters are not given proper instruction about regulations and weapons.

Selling weapons as the owner of a hunting and fishing store franchise carries great responsibility. You’ll need to stay educated about legal mandates and background checks required for the purchase of a hunting rifle and ammunition.

Equipment needed for sport hunting can carry a hefty price tag. But again, supplying this equipment may be difficult when competing against larger sporting goods stores with big-brand names. Larger stores can stock a wider variety of products and larger quantities of equipment. In big-box stores, hunters and fishers can pick up all the supplies they need for an outing including clothing, boots, and tents.

A More Lucrative Franchise Opportunity

If you love nature and the outdoors, there is a better option. Opening a hunting and fishing store franchise would mean going up against stiff competition. But you can join an established franchise like Wild Birds Unlimited that’s been successful for more than 40 years and caters to a larger demographic than the dwindling audience interested in hunting and fishing.

Wild Birds Unlimited is a wildlife franchise with more than 350 stores throughout North America. We bring people and nature together by supplying knowledge and goods to help create a bird-feeding space in people’s backyards.

Compared with hunting and fishing, there are a multitude of reasons why people enjoy wild bird watching:

  • You can enjoy a special camaraderie with those who enjoy nature and backyard bird feeding.
  • It’s an activity for the whole family.
  • It’s a less expensive hobby.
  • It’s a great way to relax and de-stress.
  • It gets you outdoors, enjoying nature.

As a franchisee with Wild Birds Unlimited, there’s strong profit potential because of growing consumer demand as the number of nature enthusiasts increases every year. In fact, 81 million people feed birds and watch wildlife in their own backyards, far greater numbers than hunting and fishing combined.

Plus, as part of a franchise you don’t have to start from scratch as an independent business owner. There’s a proven business model that has been market-tested and proven effective, at your disposal. Franchise experts help you with the development of your franchise unit as well as leases and construction, not to mention ongoing support for your success.

Frankly, the opportunity for growth with Wild Birds Unlimited is far greater than investing in a store catering to hunting and fishing. If you’re ready to join our flock, let’s get started.