HomeOutdoorsAmerica’s Hunting, Shooting Communities Facing Ammo Shortages Amid COVID-19

America’s Hunting, Shooting Communities Facing Ammo Shortages Amid COVID-19

by Evan Reier
(Staff photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

For the hunting community, the desperation to get out of the house in a COVID-19 affected world is real.

After what felt like an eternity, hunting seasons are beginning across the country. However, there is a new issue facing hunters and the people who sell guns and ammunition: heavy demand.

A recent report from Nexstar is showing the various ways the season is being affected. In New York, the state department of environmental conservation reported a $600,000 increase in day-one licenses being sold, triple the amount from 2019.

To say the least, people are eager to get out and get shooting.

In South Dakota, one gun range is limiting the amount customers can purchase. South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance Executive Director Brian Phelps explains that the demand is creating issues.

“We try to sell ammo but that’s been a challenge in 2020,” Phelps said. “Its very, very hard to find ammo… “We’ll limit them to one box of ammunition versus the normal three to five hundred rounds.”

Similarly, a gun store owner in Missouri is experiencing a similar situation. Ben Minkel runs a gun shop in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Talking to the Daily Journal, Minkel explains that his store is seeing a 300 percent increase in sales.

“Sales are higher than we’ve ever seen… Since many gun manufacturers shut down production due to COVID-19 for weeks at a time, we’re seeing shortages in weapons and ammunition.”

Hunting Season Prompting First-Timers

Furthermore, the National Shooting Sports Federation says much of the rush on ammo and arms is coming from new customers. 40 percent of sales are coming from first-time owners. Additionally, they are currently averaging close to $600 in terms of each purchase.

It’s a tough situation for both customers and retailers. Meeting demand is critical, but that is sometime an impossibility. It isn’t any easier on the other side of the transaction.

For hunters, the desire to get out is stronger than ever. What does that mean? New or experienced shooters and hunters need to plan ahead. Either head to your local range or shop, or be ready to be tight on supplies this hunting season.