Tippy River Dog and Hunt Supply Covers All Your Hunting and Fishing Needs
Writer / Angela Cornell
Stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are the Disney World of the outdoor sports world. However, for areas like the lakes region of Indiana, where the closest one is an hour away or farther, outdoor enthusiasts have to content themselves with browsing sections in franchised farm stores or shopping online.
Jake Wyatt and his partner Johnny Wadkins opened Tippy River Dog and Hunt Supply. Wyatt has always loved the outdoors.
“I grew up hunting and fishing,” he says. “That was my life. Even after I graduated high school, I went to Wyoming and became a professional hunting and fishing guide for big game.”
After a few years he moved back to Indiana. Although he transitioned out of the field professionally, he kept it up as a hobby. It was through coon hunting that he met Wadkins, who is a champion coon hunter and a local supply dealer.
The two men bonded over their mutual love of the hunting sports. That passion eventually led to inspiration.
“We were talking one day and we thought, ‘This community really needs a good outdoor shop,’” Wyatt says. “We have the drawing power to draw people from states away, with the niche being coon hunting. There’s really no place to go to get these products. Box stores don’t really sell stuff like this.”
The rest is history. Today, Tippy River is a one-stop shop for all hunting needs.
“It’s an outdoor shop,” Wyatt says. “It has everything for hunting and fishing as our niche. Our core is for coon hunting.”
Their other core areas are hometown customer service and industry expertise.
“I want that one-on-one feel when someone walks through the door,” Wyatt says. “Customer service is there for sure. I think the knowledge is there, with Johnny or myself. I’ve hunted or fished just about anything. I have knowledge from doing it all my life – not just in Indiana but across the United States.”
Since opening, the shop has grown into a business for hunters and fishermen, by hunters and fishermen. Today, they have supplies for all sorts of outdoor sportsmen, including hunters of upland birds, rabbits and squirrels.
“We all use the same products to track dogs and for some gear,” Wyatt says.
Dog owners can also get personalized dog collars at Tippy River.
“Buy a collar off the shelf, and I can put your name and number on the tag and rivet it onto the collar,” Wyatt says.
They’re also an authorized Garmin dealer, and Wyatt says the shop carries “anything from luxury watches to dog collars, GPSs, track-and-train stuff – any of that.”
The owners recently added deer hunting supplies to the inventory, just in time for the season to begin on October 1.
“We have basically all your necessities for deer hunting – stands, blinds, scent controls, safety harnesses, arrowheads – that kind of thing,” Wyatt says.
As a result of being located less than 10 minutes away from Lake Manitou, the shop has a large selection of bait and tackle, much of which is up to tournament standards.
“We have a lot of soft plastics for our bass fishermen, as well as crappie, blue gill and catfish baits,” Wyatt says. “We sell live bait. We have crappie minnows, bass minnows, night crawlers, wax worms, wigglers and crickets.”
However, they don’t only sell fishing and hunting gear. Half of their store includes grain and feed supplies.
“We sell anything from pond fish food to horse feed,” Wyatt says. “The only thing we don’t sell is cattle and pig food. We have rabbit food, chicken layer, deer feed and goat feed. We even sell some vaccines – your seven-way shots for your dogs, heartworm and all-wormer, and stuff like that.”
Wyatt and Wadkins hope to continue to expand their business in the years to come, both with products and with hunting and fishing tournament events.
“I would really like to have a bass fishing tournament,” Wyatt says. “We’re also talking about having a competition coon hunt and a cookout. That’s all in the future. We’re trying to figure out the details.”
Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to follow the business on Facebook at facebook.com/tippyriverdogandhuntsupply.