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The Great Hunting Ammo Shortage of 2021 Is Here

Hunting Ammo Shortage
Image: Creative Commons.

The great hunting ammo shortage of 2021 is here. Another example of this problem: It appears that it isn’t difficult to find Wisconsin gun dealers who are continuing to struggle with keeping their store shelves stocked with ammunition.

Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) recently reported that Tony Blattler, an avid hunter and chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, “watched as employees unloaded a shipment of .270 Winchester hunting cartridges recently at the Fleet Farm in Marshfield. People waiting in line pulled out their cell phones. Not long after, around two dozen people had filed into the store, grabbing ammunition as fast as workers could unload it.”

Blattler noted that “probably by within an hour or two they were sold out of that ammunition just by word of mouth.”

The ammo shortage—largely due to supply chain disruptions from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and surging demand for firearms and ammunition—is even more pronounced as deer hunting season approaches.

Great Hunting Ammo Shortage: Why? 

Pat Kukull, owner of Superior Shooters Supply, told WPR that vendors have sent only about 2 percent of the usual five hundred cases of shot gun ammunition for trap shooting they usually receive. She added that there’s been “absolutely nothing” for pheasant, grouse, or waterfowl hunters.

“Now, we’re moving into rifle season, and we haven’t had any .30-30 shells in a year to speak of, really,” she noted, adding that the store has been rationing ammunition to one box per individual.

The ongoing shortage also has driven forward conspiracy theories that gun dealers and manufacturers are hoarding ammunition.

“It’s no big conspiracy at all. It’s simply there was eight million new shooters, and the new shooters want guns and ammo,” Kukull said.

“That started it. And, then with the riots that went on in the (Twin Cities) area, that self-defense (gun purchases) went way up. It’s just a perfect storm,” she added.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated that roughly 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the first time last year.

Rising Gun Interest

Dan Marcon, owner of Marc-On Shooting in the village of Lake Hallie, told the radio station that he generally sells an average of six handguns per day. In contrast, before the pandemic, he would sell anywhere from five guns a week to several each day.

Marcon claimed that some people are buying new guns just because there’s ammo available for them. “We have .308 ammo, and we have twelve gauge. So, guys will come in and buy a $300 to $400 shotgun because they can buy slugs,” he said.

He has also seen a surge in interest for his training courses for new gun owners.

“There’s a ton of people that we teach to shoot that are people (you) would not think carry guns, whether they’re soccer moms, stay-at-home dads—they’re people that never touched a gun before,” he said.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.



  1. Clifra Jones

    November 8, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    The reason you see shortages at your local gun dealers is 2 fold. 1, as stated above, distributors are not sending as much ammo to the local dealers.
    2, People at these local dealers know when the shipments are going to arrive and they camp out the morning the trucks arrive and buy up all the ammo!

    I have consistently been able to buy any ammo in any quantity online without issue. Yes prices are higher than pre-pandemic but that’s what we have to deal with.

    Good sources are small US manufacturers that produce their own ammo, i.e. Freedom Munitions. Very high quality, I buy their 9mm and 380 ACP all the time.

  2. g rickelson

    November 9, 2021 at 11:01 am

    To the author: Why would you have a pic of a .454 with scope when writing about hunting ammo?

  3. Ted

    November 9, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Where have you been? This has been going on for 2 years now here n C IL.

    Locally with city total of 120,000 we have a total of 2 places to get ammo since walmart stopped carrying any ammo in our area, and stopped selling any guns many years ago. One, a farm supply store was getting in sparse but steady supplies of Winchester .223/5.56 and some 9mm 12/2020. I was lucky enough to be there when one such shipment was being put out, 8 boxes of 150 rounds @ [email protected], 2 box max. I was third in line.

    The other was a range, but guess what? They were getting ammo from the farm store to put on their shelves……..And my longtime LGS closed up for good, still not sure if they kept their FFL or if all their records went to Feds?

    I was and am stocked well enough, I got it for a friend whos wife would not let him stock up, she has since changed her tune after local rioting and finally opened her eyes, but too late for this last unprecedented round of ammo shortages. I would ask every time I ordered if he wanted any.

    I think we need a strategic militia ammo reserve in the US like our oil reserves. Too bad we cannot get more ammo components like primers still, at least at decent prices other than the $80 per 1,000 we are still seeing here and there. For 9mm ammo $20 per 50 that I have seen online is still not as bad as right after Sandy Hook, I remember seeing $80 per hundred for .40 at a now closed gun store. They pissed of a lot of people with those prices.

  4. ro

    November 9, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    g rickelson
    The pic used is a deer hunting setup.
    Do you even shoot?

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