Whitetail deer hunting is not immune to tough economic times. Businesses that rely on hunting have to adapt, says taxidermist and animal processor Gary Broach, owner of Rhodes Brothers Taxidermy in Kerrville. “Guys like us in Kerrville are fortunate to have year-round hunting with the axis herds and sika and fallow deer,” Broach says. “A lot of small taxidermists out there, rural guys, are really hurting,” he says.
“I’ve talked to them about where they need to put advertising dollars and where to get in with whitetail hunting ranches. I like the fact they aren’t giving up. They just need to regroup.”
This winter, “I expect processing to be up and taxidermy down,” Broach says. “Processing is going to put meat in the freezer. “There is an oversupply of deer in 2009,” he says. “The bountiful harvest has hit at the same time as the bad economy. The positive is guys who can’t afford a $7,000 or $8,000 deer, but have $3,000 or $4,000 might be able to find some bargains on trophy hunts.”
Broach says ranchers who are managing herds still need to keep herd numbers in check. He also is confident that even if spending slows this year, the hunting economy will rebound.
“I watched everybody’s booked hunts disappear after 9/11,” he says. “We rebounded from that. I think we are going to rebound fine.”