A national shortage of ammunition may affect hunters this season, according to the Associated Press.
Media reports indicate that shortages earlier this year for .22 caliber and some pistol calibers encouraged manufacturers to shift their focus away from what were then well-stocked hunting rifle calibers to address the other shortages.
Local shortages are "Right across the board," said Jake Byler, a salesman at Tall Tales Sporting Goods in Russell. As for the .22 bullets, "They're still scarce," he added.
Times Observer photo by Rob Andersen
Sign of the times
Shelving that used to be filled with ammunition are now filled with knickknacks at Grizzly Gary’s Sporting Goods in Warren. Despite increased production by manufacturers, demand for bullets has outpaced the supply. Some manufacturers have focused on the more popular calibers temporarily leaving even more shortages for calibers that are not mainstream.
He reported having quite a bit of turkey loads for shotguns, a little bit of high brass for small game, but very little, if any target loads.
Gary Wert, of Grizzly Gary's Sporting Goods said the "big box" stores could order truckloads of ammunition, but, "A little guy like me is at the bottom of the totem pole."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation said that the shortages are result of "high demand and market forces," and not because of a rumored government attempt at "ammunition control."
Wert agreed, saying, "When all the rumors started flying about an increase in ammunition tax, everybody went off the deep-end."
Regardless of what has caused the five-year run, everyone agrees that ammunition is hard to find. Wert noted that the last time he got a relatively large delivery of .22 ammunition, people came from Buffalo and Dunkirk trying to buy all of it.
He said a visitor from Lancaster stopped in Tuesday and told him that he had checked every sporting store he passed, and it was the same story: No bullets.
Marian Swanson of Swanson's Barn in Pittsfield said, "I'm not in good shape at all. It's not a good thing." She added that her salesman told her he didn't see it getting any better before hunting season.
"Everybody wants .22 shells. I told my salesman that I didn't care if I got any now, because if I did, everyone would want me to save shells for them. If I did that, everyone else would get mad," she added.
Ammunition manufacturers are attempting to keep up with the demand.
Remington broke ground in August for an expansion of its operations at the Remington Ammunition Plant in Lonoke, Arkansas, according to Remington.com.
Hornaday.com reports, "We are producing and shipping product at record levels and are continually looking to grow and improve our ability to fulfill orders. But the current state of the industry is such that our increase in shipments this year is overshadowed by a 200% increase in demand."
Federalpremium.com also responds, "Our facilities operate 24 hours a day. We are continually making process improvements to increase our efficiency and investing in capital and personnel where we have sustained demand. We are bringing additional capacity online again this year."