PORTLAND, Ore. - If games, television shows and movies are any indication, zombies are big right now and it stands to reason there's money to be made on the craze.
Of course, zombies have been big for a couple of years now, but between the popularity of AMC's The Walking Dead, the new movie World War Z (starring Brad Pitt) coming out later this month and a heap of zombie video games, there is a bit of a resurgence.
With that comes the merchandise - these days you can find zombie ammo, pepper spray, weaponry, survival gear, field guides and much more. You can buy everything you need to prepare yourself for a zombie apocalypse. And you won't just find this stuff online - it's popping up in brick and mortar shops as well.
We stopped by The Gun Broker in Clackamas, Ore., to take a look at their stock of zombie shotguns. Owner Royd Jackson told us he's been selling zombie guns and bullets for about six months now. It's not his core business by any means, but he said it is a novelty that some folks are interested in.
Jackson told us the shotguns aren't any different from a regular shotgun - they just have a sticker and a tag that advertise them as being part of the 'zombie' line.
"I think the zombie ammo is more popular than the zombie guns," he said. "But then all ammo is really popular right now. We can't keep it in stock. Any ammo is hard to order right now."
Who is buying this stuff? Jackson told us it's mostly young people around 18 years old or so. And he said while there are a few folks out there who actually do believe a zombie apocalypse is coming, for most people, it's just for fun.
The Mossberg ZMB Series shotgun that's sold at The Gun Broker in Clackamas, Ore. Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com.
"They just think it looks cool," he said. "They don't really think there are any zombies."
We also talked to John Clarke at Wade's Gun Shop in Bellevue, Wash. He told us while zombie-themed gear is a very small portion of their business, there are folks who will come in and buy zombie targets, bullets, guns or knives. He said they usually don't come in asking for those items in particular, but see them there and are interested.
At Ollie Damon's, a sporting goods store in Portland, Ore., they sell zombie targets that are a popular impulse buy when folks come in. They were actually out of stock when we talked to them this week.
Even big box sporting goods stores, like Cabela's, Sportsman's Warehouse, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Sports Authority, are selling zombie-fighting gear. And of course, WalMart won't be outdone. (You can follow the links to see what each store is selling.)
Of course, having the right gear is just one part of being prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Training is also key and there are plenty of classes out there that can teach you the ropes on how to kill zombies and stay alive.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe it or not, has an entire section on their website devoted to preparing for a zombie apocalypse. It's tongue in cheek, but one way to get folks to prepare for a disaster - whether it's zombies or some other type of devastating event, like an earthquake.