A shortage of ammunition is likely to drive up prices for hunters and marksmen, at least in part, in the next year, industry observers say.
National reports have shown that the prices of some types of ammunition have increased by 30%. Some prices have quadrupled from pre-pandemic levels, Forbes reported.
As Iowa Autumn hunting season Approach, many store shelves are a hodgepodge of odds and ends.
Shelves have gaps
A review of 12-gauge shotgun cartridges Thursday at Brownells, the Grinnell-based gun and ammunition giant, revealed a wide range of prices and many products that were out of stock. On the first page of 12 offers, half were sold out. The next two pages were of 23 of the 24 products on offer.
In Ames, Theisen’s offered fairly typical prices, but had a spotty inventory of popular gauges on Thursday, reported a hunter.
What has become a national tale of scarcity and price gouging exacerbated by scalpers hit Iowa, a state particularly popular with pheasant and deer hunters.
Theisen’s in Ames had a shortage of certain ammunition on September 2, 2021. (Photo by Mark Beeman for Iowa Capital Dispatch)
“We’re actually seeing the ramifications for not just hunting here in Iowa, but recreational shooting as well,” said Jamie Cook, hunting education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Certain rounds are hard to come by, there are limits to the number you can buy, and manufacturers just can’t keep up with demand due to the rise in interest and the fact that factories have closed during COVID,” he added added.
Cook said manufacturers and retailers are urging those involved in the sport of shooting to order spring ammunition now.
Jared Wiklund, a spokesman for Pheasants Forever’s national office in St. Paul, Minnesota, said more people would be hunted in 2020 because sport allowed people to get outside and keep a safe distance from others. The high demand continued until this year.
Approximately 8.4 million people bought their first gun in the year 20
That reported the National Shooting Sports Foundation 8.4 million people first bought a gun in 2020.
“As more people worked at home, they had more time to hunt,” said Wiklund. This is particularly noticeable when hunting highland wild birds such as pheasants, he added.
The upside is that the growth of the sport of hunting and shooting will mean more federal excise tax payments, provided buyers can find ammunition. The taxes go to the states for wildlife projects.
As manufacturers scramble to add staff and ramp up production, Remington’s bankruptcy and high demand have caused price spikes and shelves of empty space, said Wiklund, who hunts regularly in Iowa, Minnesota and Utah.
Kevin King, chairman of the Warren County’s Izaak Walton League trap shoot and a competitive shooter himself, said the ammunition shortage was fueled by hoarding and panic buying.
“I have seen enormous ammunition shortage, ”said King. “Several factors contributed to the shortage, most notably the panic buying and hoarding of ammunition and components.”
Remington bankruptcy intensifies bottlenecks
the Remington bankruptcy interrupted deliveries. And there were other problems with the supply chain.
“Raw materials have been hard to come by for manufacturers in connection with disruptive supply chains,” said King. “For shotgun sport, this means that there is a continuing shortage of ammunition and components. Ammunition companies earn more money per round with metal cartridges and hunting charges than with target charges. “
Some ammunition components will be in short supply by sometime next year, King said.
Pheasants Forever’s Wiklund said there was hope for full shelves in the coming months, at least sometime in 2020. “At some point, production will catch up with demand.”