HUNTING GUIDE: ‘We live outdoors’

Posted: November 14, 2013

The Winchester Star

Carmen Schlosser shows a popular Irish Setter boot at Gander Mountain. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)
Jerry McClanahan, right, shows Seth Boyd a rifle in the Firearms Super Center in Gander Mountain. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — With general firearms season starting Saturday, the newly-remodeled Gander Mountain offers hunters everything they need to make their hunting experience the best it can possibly be.

The store, located at 251 Commonwealth Court, is one of 29 Gander Mountains nationwide that recently finished extensive remodeling projects. The changes are noticeable as soon as you walk into the 57,700 square-foot store that opened in 2006.

And for avid hunters, the one big change to the store’s format is the Firearms Super Center that stretches along the store’s back wall.

“We’ve tripled the area of firearms that we’ve had before,” said Gander Mountain Hardlines Zone manager Jerry McClanahan. “We have more firearms than we’ve ever had in the last seven years.”

Gander Mountain’s new Firearms Super Center offers more of a selection of both new and used firearms than ever before.

McClanahan said Gander Mountain also features a new “With Rights Come Responsibility” program that stresses properly securing firearms and offers several lock boxes or gun safes for owners to keep their guns stored in a proper place.

“ ‘With Rights Comes Responsibility’ is a program where Gander Mountain is encouraging people who do have firearms that they are responsible gun owners and that they do secure their firearms. That way the firearms don’t fall into the hands of someone who isn’t responsible or into the hands of a kid.”

The new Firearms Super Center also includes a streamlined purchasing process that’s entirely computerized.

“There’s no more doing it by hand with pen and paper,” McClanahan said. “We actually do all the paperwork on the computer so it speeds up the process and allows us to help eliminate mistakes.”

McClanahan said the store also features a wide variety of ammunition from $4 to $5 a box on up, and hunters can register so they can be notified when ammunition should be available.

“We have an extremely large assortment of ammunition on hand right now,” McClanahan said. “Ammo is getting harder and harder to find, but Gander Mountain always has a large selection to choose from. We also have our ammo club where somebody can sign up and be notified through email when we’re getting shipments of ammo in.”

If hunters need a place to store their rifles and ammo, the gun safes available at the store can accomodate several guns and the prices range from about $400 for the smaller safes to up to $3,000 for larger ones. McClanahan said the higher end gun safes offer storage capacity for up to 64 guns and “up to 11/2-hour fire protection.”

Although protection and storage of firearms is key, Gander Mountain also features several items that are essential to make sure hunters remain as safe as possible while they’re in the woods.

From tree stands and harnesses to blaze orange clothing and accessories, the store features several items geared toward safety.

McClanahan said the larger dual or tandem tree stands are popular items this year.

“It allows them extra room in the tree stand or it allows them to take their kids or wife hunting with them and there’s ample room for both,” McClanahan said. “The tree stands run from about $80 up to $300. We also offer harnesses that will help you if you fall out of your tree stand. Harnesses range from about $60 to $150. The higher end [harnesses] are easier to get into and they fit more like a vest that just zips up as opposed to attaching a bunch of straps to your body.”

Safety is the first priority when it comes to hunting and staying warm is probably a close second. With that in mind, one of the top hunting boots available at Gander Mountain is the Irish Setter Havoc.

“The boot is insulated and the amount of insulation is 800 grams so that’s going to be a pretty warm boot that’s going to be good until it gets to about 10 degrees,” said Gander sales associate Carmen Schlosser of the hunting boot that costs $199. “The upper is stitched to the sole which means that if you’ve worn it for a few years and the sole wears out you can actually send it back to the company and have it re-soled for a small price which is really nice because a lot of times you’ll break in the upper and it’s really comfortable and you don’t want to buy a whole new boot so you can just replace [the sole].

“It’s also GoreTex which is a water proofing that’s in the lining of the shoes and it helps draw moisture away from your foot. It also helps repel water so it helps keep your feet dry both ways.”

There’s also scent blocking items available at Gander Mountain such as shampoos, detergents, toothpaste and even deodorant for hunters.

The store also offers a wide variety of camouflage patterns, and McClanahan said that one of the popular items is the Ghillie Suit ($59).

“It’s just another tool to make you undetectable to the animal you’re hunting,” said McClanahan.

For hunters who can’t devote as much time scouting as they’d like, Gander Mountain also features a wide variety of game cameras which allow hunters to see what’s roaming their favorite hunting spots around the clock. One of the newest models is the Cuddeback Attack IR ($249) which can shoot both pictures and video during the day or night.

“One of the best things about this camera is it offers the fastest trigger speed of any Cuddeback camera that’s on the market,” McClanahan said. “It’s got a quarter-second trigger speed so it will shoot another picture after a quarter second. It also has the capability for a full season of battery life so you don’t have to go back into the woods during the middle of the season to change the battery.

“It will take 50,000 pictures on one set of batteries. It’s five megapixels and it will take pictures day and night with infared capability.”

For more information on the items listed above, go to  www.gandermountain.com

— Contact Robert Stocks at rstocks@winchesterstar.com

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