By Jennifer McDaniel
When Gerald Huehl first picked up a bow, little did he know the fascination would grow into a love he would pass on to his children, and they would eventually pass on to his entire family.
But for Gerald, and his sons Donovan and Charlie, archery and hunting wouldn’t be an occasional hobby or sport, but a true calling that would eventually lead them to open their own outfitting business.
Just starting out
Starting out in the mid-1970’s Gerald was working two jobs and trying to raise a young family in Lincoln County, Kansas. With limited spare time on his hands, Gerald decided to open a part-time business, Hilly’s Bait Shop, on Highway 14. His new shop offered the typical bait, tackle, and fishing gear, along with a limited selection of archery supplies.
A new job with the Kansas Department of Transportation led Gerald and his young family to Salina just two years after opening the bait shop, but he would return to the area just a few years later and open Hilly’s Archery Gun & Bait Shop on Highway 18, at the west edge of Lincoln. The new shop included much of the same gear as the original Hilly’s but also included a full line of Jennings Archery equipment and an indoor archery range.
Word soon spread about the full service Jennings Archery dealer in Lincoln County, and archery enthusiasts from across the region formed teams to compete in weekly league shoots in Lincoln. In addition to league shooters, Gerald also worked with kids, including local Boy Scout Troops, teaching them the proper way to sight in and shoot a bow. He was happy to get kids involved in the outdoors and give back to his hometown.
“I felt like I was doing something for the community, and getting kids involved in the outdoors,” Gerald said.
As the business continued to grow, his wife Connie worked in the shop during the day, and Gerald was there anytime he was not working his “day job” with KDOT.
In 1982 Gerald sold his business and moved his family to Ft. Collins, Colorado, to pursue his dream of becoming an outfitter. He partnered with Don Swain to form a new business called “Camp Orca,” which specialized in guided Elk and Mule Deer hunts near the Rocky Mountains. After a few successful years in the outfitting business, the Huehls decided to move the family back to small town living in Lincoln where Gerald returned to his career with KDOT, continued to enjoy bowhunting, and returned to the archery business as a sideline.
The Next Generation
Gerald’s sons Donovan and Charlie were introduced to the outdoors at a young age, learning to shoot a bow, and hunt and track wild game while still just kids. Together, Gerald and his boys teamed up to start a new family owned and operated business, Triple H Outfitters and Cardinal Archery, in early 2016. The new businesses currently focuses on deer and turkey hunts in Lincoln County, with plans to expand into upland game bird hunting by 2017.
Triple H also offers archery and gun hunts out-of-state and abroad, including New Jersey Black Bear, Argentina Red Stag, and African Plains game.
The main thing that sets Triple H apart is the combined 100 years of hunting and outfitting experience. This means they not only know the lay of the land, but more importantly the daily movement and habits of the game they pursue.
“You’ve got to know where they’re feeding, where they’re bedding. You’ve go to know the land,” Gerald said.
Even though most clients that arrive at Triple H are experienced hunters, novice hunters are welcome. Gerald stressed that safety is number one at Triple H. Upon arrival, all hunters review local game laws and requirements, as well as shoot their gun or bow to make sure they are sighted in properly.
Gerald has bowhunted for over 47 years, hunting in 15 states and Canada, and has been a member of the Kansas and Nebraska Bowhunting Associations for over 30 years.
“During the years, I have had the opportunity, through hunting and archery, to meet a lot of good people who share the same passion I have for the outdoors,” Gerald said. “Now, through this new business, my children will have that same opportunity.”
Donovan and Charlie have passed that love for bowhunting on to their children as well.
“I just really enjoy the sport and learn something new everyday,” Charlie said. “I think my goal is to get many people involved in the sport, and eventually open an outdoor range and get leagues started again.”
Donovan emphasized this new business would not be possible without the generosity of the landowners of Lincoln County.
“Without the landowners and farmers this venture wouldn’t be possible, and we want to thank them for working with us to provide excellent habitat for game,” Donovan said.
Triple H Outfitters and Cardinal Archery
Triple H will offer a variety of archery, muzzleloader, rifle, or shotgun hunts. All hunts are all-inclusive, with lodging, meals, field transportation, and game care included.
Cardinal Archery will sell G5 Pro, Prime and Quest bows, and plans to continue expanding its stock for customers. The business will also feature a repair shop. Although the shop is still under construction, the Huehls anticipate it opening by September, if not sooner. Besides archery, they also hope to offer products such as tree stands, boots, ground blinds, optics and targets.
Triple H Outfitters and Cardinal Archery is located at 1150 N. 130th Road, west of Lincoln. For more information, call (785) 488-5120, or find the Triple H Outfitters page on Facebook.