In Ohio and Pennsylvania, hunting season is just around the corner and ammunition remains in short supply. Retailers that would previously report well-stocked shelves for the upcoming season are almost completely empty. Some retailers have had so little ammunition inventory going into the autumn hunting season.
“This is uncharted water to a lot of us dealers,” Michael Miller at Miller Rod and Gun in Struthers, Penn. told WFMJ. “In the past, we knew what was happening. Now, we’re sitting here going ‘wow, this is just weird.'”
Gun shops across the region have been receiving more ammunition-related phone calls than in years prior, a sign that hunters are now hunting for the ammunition I order to hunt game.
“We get, probably, fifty to seventy calls a day on, especially, the .450 Bushmaster and the .350 Legend cartridges,” added Tim Rinehart of Precision Shooting in Austintown. “And that’s been happening since about May probably.”
A similar story is playing out in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and before heading to the woods or even the range in preparation for the season, shooters need to track down the rounds they’ll be using.
“Right now, we are experiencing a shortage of ammo… all kinds, but specifically hunting ammo is really hard to get,” John McConkey owner of The Modern Sportsman, in Burnsville, Minnesota, told KSTP.com.
The shortage of ammunition has driven up prices as well, and national reports suggest that prices are up by 30 percent for some types of ammo, while popular hunting cartridges have quadrupled in price from pre-pandemic levels.
Bowing to Pressure
As a result, some retailers are even saying it has resulted in an uptick in the sale of archery equipment. As ammo remains hard to come by; and prices have increased, more than a few hunters are looking to bows and arrows instead of rifles and bullets.
Archery season is already underway in much of the country, and at HP Archery in Belpre, Ohio the sales have hit the bullseye this season.
“We’ve seen our business probably triple this year,” said Larry Hendershot Jr. of HP Archery, who added that in a “normal year” the rush before bow season begins about three to four weeks ahead of time – but this year interest picked up six months ago.
Clearly many sportsmen in the Buckeye State expected a shortage of ammunition and sought to pull some bow strings instead. The shop, which is located near the border with West Virginia and sees customers from both states, has had an influx of customers looking at new bows, arrows and other accessories.
“I’ve probably restringed 80 bows this year between crossbows to vertical bows and we take care of the traditional people as well,” Hendershot told WOWKTV.com last week.
While 2020 certainly set records in terms of firearms sales and 2021 could even surpass those records, the question is whether this year could also be one that brings renewed as well as new interest to archery as well.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.