If you are like most hunters, you are currently making the rounds through your hometown’s outdoor recreation shops and department stores, restocking your gear and weaponry for the upcoming hunting season. But if rifle ammunition is on your shopping list this fall, you’re likely finding ammo in short supply.
A nationwide ammunition shortage is leaving rifle hunters scurrying from store to store looking for boxes of bullets to fill their guns, or searching far and wide for a solution to their empty chambers.
The munitions shortage has been an ongoing problem for hunters ever since 2008, when President Barack Obama’s election victory left many firearm enthusiasts fearing for gun control legislation. When Obama was re-elected – and when the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school last December left the nation in a wake of tragedy – furor over gun control erupted once more, leading to another explosion in the purchase of ammunition.
While December and January saw a spike in the purchase of both firearms and ammunition, the calibers being purchased were not common hunting varieties like .22, .270, .30-06, .30-30, or .308, leading gun companies to lower production volumes of those munitions in favor of other more powerful cartridges.
However, now that hunters are ready to get back to action, the gun companies are having trouble keeping up with the sudden dramatic demand. As supply dries up, many rifle hunters are finding themselves without a prime ingredient to their whitetail season success.
Does that mean that many of us are going to have to take up bowhunting this season?
Not necessarily – though those who have an archer’s eye might do well to focus their attention on the bow and arrow this fall. However, the ammunition shortage is likely to impact hunting season plans for all rifle hunters, even those who manage to find a store whose shelves are fully stocked with the proper calibers.
Many stores throughout the country are now rationing bullet sales — in an effort to create a sort of privatized gun control push — while the burgeoning demand and shrinking supply for hunting calibers have understandably resulted in higher prices.
In other words, if you’ve been lucky enough to find a prevalent ammo source for your favorite rifle, you might want to be careful in how much you time you spend at the shooting range leading up to opening day. After all, you can never be sure when that ammo source is going to dry up.
If you’ve had no luck finding calibers for your rifle yet, you may need to be creative. For some, that will mean purchasing a new rifle based on which calibers are actually available. Or perhaps you should ask around among your friends or hunting contacts to see if anyone you know has stocked up on the caliber you are looking for. Many hunters and firearm fans began hoarding ammunition after Obama took office, and it is possible that you know someone who would be willing to help you out with your ammunition shortage.
Have you had trouble finding a specific caliber, and do you anticipate it affecting your hunting season? Let us know in the comments below.