Up North: Ammunition shortage empties shelves across Northland

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: October 07, 2020 11:08 PM

Waterfowl hunting season is well underway in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Firearm deer hunting season in both states starts next month.

However, hunters that are out of ammunition may be out of luck. Stock at many stores is low, including at Superior Shooters Supply. 

"Well we ran out of buckshot in March, and we've been out of 30-30 since April," said Pat Kukull, owner of Superior Shooters Supply.

Kukull said the shortage isn't specific to her store but is nationwide. 

"The ammunition shortage started in March with COVID-19. Some of the factories closed down [and] the ones that didn't close down were greatly hampered by the lack of raw materials because the ports were closed down," Kukull explained.

In Grand Rapids Rusty Eichorn, owner of Glen's Army and Navy store, said the ammunition shortage is the worst he's seen in his 40 years in the business.

This early in the season he's already out of typical calibers like 30.06, .308 or 30-30. He said that's partially because of panic buying and hoarding.

"We would normally have 2,500 or 3,000 boxes of rifle ammunition to sell, and we have less than 10% of that on hand." Eichorn added he alone has $4 million of ammunition on backorder.

Also emptier than usual are gun racks.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, firearm background check requests increased from 15,000 in February 2020 to 33,000 in March.

In Minnesota, a September Star Tribune article reported a 59% percent increase from August 2019 to August 2020.

"There's five million new firearm owners in the United States this year so far," said Eichorn. "Most of that [is] in the handgun arena, but it's just caused really critical shortages for retailers like us."

To prepare for a successful hunt this fall, hunters may need to make some changes to their plans. Kukull said, "some of them are going to have to resize their guns into something else."

Eichorn suggested, "if you see the ammo that you normally shoot on a shelf in a sporting goods store I would buy it in more than one box, because come deer season the boxes may not be there."

Credits

Alicia Tipcke

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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