BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) – For Minnesota’s 500,000 firearms deer hunters the Friday before opening day is much like the day after Thanksgiving.

The day has become such a popular shopping day for hunters that one major sporting goods retailer trademarked the name, “Orange Friday.”

It plays off the reference to the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday.

And that can only mean one thing, dropping huge amounts of money for all the clothing and accessories needed to assure a safe and comfortable hunt.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, deer hunters will drop over $234 million on retail sales alone.

“It is absolutely part of the culture of the state,” Michael Richardson said.

Richardson is assistant store manager at the Brooklyn Park Mills Fleet Farm, where the Friday before the annual deer hunting opener is like jump starting the holidays.

And for hunters, like Randy Hoff, getting away for the opener is pure tradition.

“Very important,” Hoff said. “I’m taking Friday off and spending the whole week up there next week.”

And that’s why “Orange Friday” was created. Retailers, like Mills Fleet Farm, will open doors early, enticing hunters with giveaways and door buster deals.

“A lot of folks are liking to hit the road and get to camp early on Friday. So, the chance to be able to get in, get everything they need before sunup and be on the road. That’s really important,” Richardson said.

Mills Fleet Farm marketed the Orange Friday idea four years ago. Since then it has become hugely popular with hunters, growing each year.

Still, not everyone will be standing in line waiting to get one of the 500 free commemorative hats. Dan McFarrin was doing his shopping on Thursday because he’s leaving town early.

“Yea, I did [know about Orange Friday] but I’m heading up north and they don’t have one in Park Rapids,” McFarrin said.

Outdoor retailers like Cabela’s and Gander Mountain will also ring up huge sales on Friday, offering special deals to lure in the hunters. Much like the deer scents hunters use to bring in the bucks. Other products promise to hide human smells.

“We sell a lot of scent elimination products from deodorants, to bar soaps, to shampoos and conditioners. All the way down to Chapstick that doesn’t have a smell,” Gander Mountain Woodbury manager, Chris Valentine, said.

One more example of hunters buying the orange and spending their green!

“It’s certainly a holiday for the hunter, for sure,” Richardson said.

In addition to Mills Fleet Farm, Minnesota’s Gander Mountain stores will open doors at 6 a.m. as well. They will also offer giveaways for the early birds and deer hunting deals.

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