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The Primos legacy transition

Mississippi is the home of a lot of firsts. Honest, we’re not last in everything. I mean they did the first heart transplant here in 1964. Space shuttle rocket engines are tested here. The best catfish on Earth comes from here. The first football player on a box of Wheaties was Mississippi’s Walter Payton.

Mississippi was first to institute junior colleges in America. Shoes first sold as a pair in a box came from a store in Vicksburg in 1884. Root beer was invented in Mississippi. I mean, what else would you want?


Primos Hunting Calls Another First

As it turns out the No.1 game call company in the world resides just up the road from Jackson in Flora. Imagine that. That little ole company that now is housed in a 100,000-square-foot facility and employs some 120 folks produces around 620 products. Well, to be truthful, Primos was not the first outfit to produce game calls in the state, but they are first in the industry now and by a large margin.

Their products include game calls, videos, clothing and all types of hunting accessories for turkey, elk, waterfowl, white-tailed deer and predators. The company currently holds 26 legal patents and numerous trademarks that are highly recognized in the outdoor industry today.

In effect Primos Hunting Calls started when Will Primos built his first call in 1963 at the ripe old age of 11. He was trying to copy his Uncle Gus’ duck calls that he loved to hear as a young hunter. From there one thing led to another until some 20 years later in 1983 Will marketed his first instructional audiotape. I still have some of his first audios as well as many of his original VCR video hunting tapes.

Anybody that hunts that knows anything at all about hunting products, videos and television has heard of the Primos Truth series. It is perhaps their greatest and most highly market recognized trademark in all the hunting call industry.

“To this day, we still check the quality of the calls coming out of the factory. We have a team of employees who come sit in my office and lay out a sampling of calls and we check them to see that they’ve maintained the quality I started with 31 years ago. There are certain things that I will not allow to be removed from my daily responsibility, because it keeps me in touch with the grassroots of the company,” says Will.


What is a Swamp Donkey Anyway?

I mean, let’s face the facts. You really have to be at the top of your game to dream up something with a product name like Swamp Donkey. I sort of have an idea because I have deer hunted in some places I fully expected to see Sasquatch stroll right by my hunting stand. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a swamp donkey yet — yet.

Just as an example of the creativity of a company with over 600 named products Primos Hunting Calls in their extension to outreach their offerings in the hunting product marketplace developed a complete line of deer attractant sprays, granualized attractant, deer licks, mineral supplements, pellet attractants and mineral syrups. All of these are designed to bring deer to the source giving the deer hunter an added advantage.

Now, as has been the case with other Primos products, Swamp Donkey is a moniker namesake among the hunting youth of the country. With clothing so labeled, it’s a fashion statement as well. I mean, what better advertising than seeing young hunters both guys and gals wearing a t-shirt with Swamp Donkey on it? Genius…..


The Primos-Bushnell Era

News comes recently that the well-known optics company Bushnell has agreed to acquire the Primos company. “Primos is a well-respected brand with great tradition in the hunting market and will be a tremendous complement to our outdoor accessory business,” said Blake Lipham, Bushnell Outdoor Products president and CEO.

“We expect the Primos facilities in Flora and Brookhaven to continue operations and we will stay focused on continuing to deliver outstanding service levels to our customers throughout the integration of our businesses.”

“Bringing Primos into the Bushnell family of brands is a continuation of our goal to grow the company through strategic acquisitions,” said David Basto, MidOcean Partners managing director. “Bushnell and Primos has synergistic product offerings and share a great reputation with their retail partners and the hunting consumer. This combination makes for a very formidable force in the outdoor industry.”

The Bushnell Outdoor Products conglomerate may be based in the Midwest, but with the acquisition of a founded Mississippi first company like Primos, they are not in Kansas any more. And you can bet your sweet Swamp Donkey that Will Primos and all his crew aren’t leaving Mississippi behind either.

About John Woods

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