GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The excitement is building for hunters – Saturday is the opening of the nine-day gun deer hunt in Wisconsin. It’s a tradition for tens of thousands of people and families all over the state.
Another tradition is lining up for Orange Friday at area Fleet Farm stores.
Before the doors opened early at Fleet Farm West in Green Bay at 6 a.m., more than 400 eager hunters were standing in line for Orange Friday before heading to deer camp.
Paul Verstoppen was the first in line at 4:30 a.m. “I just like coming here and standing outside with all the people,” explained Verstoppen.
“I just like to be in line talking to the guys and get hunters’ stories from last year,” said Josh Derouin.
For many, this is a tradition before the hunt – for some to pass down to the next generation.
“It means everything to me to bring your kids into stuff you enjoy to do and teaching them what you know,” explained Josh Derouin.
“It’s just fun and I get to wake up and see just wake up and go. It’s just the experience of it,” added Taylor Derouin.
They were gearing up for the Orange Friday deals. “Hunters need a one-stop-shop destination before they head on out to deer camp so in 2012 fleet farm created Orange Friday,” said Justin Kangas, general manager of Green Bay West Fleet Farm.
The first 500 into the store get swag… “An authentic Fleet Farm Orange Friday blaze orange hat and they also get a big buck scratch-off ticket where they can win 10% up to 50% off their purchase,” said Kangas.
And that Orange Friday hat is important to many. “Got a collection of the hats. Gotta get it, yup,” said Josh Derouin
Inside the store, cashiers were waiting. “Really good crowd we’re seeing a lot of new hunters enter the sport and a lot of returning customers as well,” said Kangas.
It’s one of the store’s biggest days of the year.
“Everybody is coming in to get their stuff for a successful hunt,” said Kangas. “This truly is a one-stop-shop for deer camp. Me? I’m getting snacks for my deer stand because that’s what I do when I’m in the woods, I eat a lot. I have my limited-edition special hat and my big bucks scratch off and what did I get? 10% off, woohoo!”
“I found more than what I needed this year,” laughed Jim Riewe.
Hunters fill their carts to help them with their ultimate goal – bagging that big buck. “I’d like to see my sons get a deer and I’d like to see my dad. He hasn’t shot one in a couple of years,” said Jim Riewe.
“More than a six-pointer. And what about your dad? He’s probably going to get like a three,” joked Taylor Derouin.
This is Fleet Farms’ tenth Orange Friday event.