Friday, August 27, 2021

Exondo Outdoor Shop

With September creeping ever nearer, hunters in Germany are gearing up for hunting season. Some game has been open since May 1st, and wild boars are open year-round because there are so many of them and ASP (Afrikanische Schweinepest) is a constant threat. For further details about hunting seasons in Baden-Württemberg, see this link.

Each year about this time hunters have to take a look at their equipment, tools, clothes, and supplies and figure out what they can still use, what needs replacing, and what new products are needed. Then it’s time to decide where to go to restock.

Every student at a Jagdschule gets the Frankonia Jungjäger Startpaket, so M and I have gone to their store in Stuttgart several times in the past. Although it carries a wide variety of supplies, we always feel like we’re paying premium prices for the name, as they spend a lot of money on advertising and they are a big chain. We prefer smaller family-run suppliers with whom it is possible to develop a trusting relationship, as in you can get to know them and vice versa. The customer service in smaller, more personal shops is close to what you'll find in the U.S., something that most U.S. expats miss. Dare I say it’s nice to be on a first-name basis as well. 

A few weeks ago we drove to a new (for us) hunter supply shop - Exondo in Meßstetten (Zollernalbkreis), owned and run by Mike Fortino. Mike is a hunter and Revierinhaber as well, so he can often tell you about the equipment he sells from firsthand experience. He has a deutsche Jagdterrier who spends most mornings in the shop.

Exondo sells clothing, especially the outer layers in hunter orange and camo, but he says his focus is more on the tools for hunting and personal advice and consulting. One of his strengths is night vision and thermal imaging devices and optics. If you tell him what you’re preparing for or what problems you’re having, he has ideas to get you where you want to be.

Mike has an online shop where you can find out more about the company itself and what it offers, but of course a visit there is where you get the personal consultation and hands-on knowledge of the items you’re considering. 

If you have specific needs, you can make an appointment with Mike during regular business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00 - 17:00) and he will devote that time to you and answering your questions.

M and I have received our first invitation to a Drückjagd as Schützen in December, and we’re looking forward to the experience. We have been Treiber (drivers/beaters) at this and two other Drückjagden in the past two years, but being in the role of hunters carrying guns rather than sticks will be entirely different. Instead of bundling up and tromping through the forest, sweating despite the winter weather, we’ll each be standing still in a Hochsitz (deer stand) for those 2-3 hours, feeling the chill more than while driving.

Mike fixed us up with a variety of hats, and I found some nice warm gloves as well. M bought some boxes of ammunition, which we continue to need to restock because we practice frequently at the shooting range. We’re fixed for guns, but Mike has a variety of hunting and sport weapons in stock, as well as binoculars, scopes, range finders, suppressors and pretty much everything else a hunter needs.

Exondo definitely has advantages for me over that bigger store, despite the 50-minute drive. The drive to downtown Stuttgart does not take less time, and big city driving – no thank you. Parking is expensive in Stuttgart but free and convenient at Exondo - American-style, right at their front door. But more than that...

  • Personal consultation, also by telephone and email
  • I know who will be helping me
  • Mike also speaks English
  • Friendly, knowledgable and helpful customer service
  • Free delivery with online orders over €100
  • Dog in the shop (we were there in the afternoon, which is why I have no photos of him)
  • He is located near the well-known Schrotpatronen dealer, Alfred Feistel, so we can do two errands in one trip

I know several of those points appeal mainly to Americans, but what can I say? A personal touch matters to us, and we like to shop where the proprietor knows who we are and wants to sell us what we need rather than what he needs to sell,

In a future post I will write about our experience visiting the Falkner-Shop in Konstanz.

Disclaimer: While the thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely my own and genuine, Mike did give us a good deal on our purchases along with the hunting hats.

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