William D. “Bill” Decker Jr. depends upon the definitive change of seasons unique to upstate New York for his livelihood.
Decker and his family own and operate Sportsman Adventure at 114 Southside Drive in Oneonta. The store has moved around a couple of times in the years since Decker decided to change professions, leave the body shop he had known for ten years, and open a store doing something he loves — hunting and fishing.
“It wasn’t the store that was the hard thing,” Decker said Monday afternoon during a lull in a busy day. “I have always been hunting and fishing up here, I know a lot about that. It was more the taxes and payroll — that was the learning curve.”
Right now residents of upstate New York are ice fishing and trapping, according to Decker. Sportsman Adventures sells everything an ice fisherman might need from sleds to saws and poles to bait. Decker said trappers are doing well this year, as the price of pelts has risen over the past two years.
A testament to the passion for ice fishing in the area is the volume of minnows sold at Sportsman Adventure.
“We get them in by the truckload from Albany; they are certified disease-free,” Decker said. “We are going through a whole lot right now, about 800 dozen a week.”
Decker is selling a lot of guns and ammunition this month as well. He said this is due to a reaction in anticipation of the NY SAFE Act, which was supposed to go into effect Jan. 15, but has been delayed. It requires, among other new regulations, a background check on individuals purchasing ammunition.
“We have had a pretty good run on guns and ammunition,” Decker said. “People tend to want to stock up before some new law hits and it is harder to get stuff.”