Posted at: 11/06/2013 4:15 PM
Updated at: 11/06/2013 11:08 PM
By: Travis Dill
Northland hunters are gearing up for the Minnesota deer opener, but local retailers said an ammo shortage could leave hunters empty handed this year.
Pat Kukull owns Superior Shooters Supply, and she said rifle rounds used by most hunters are out of stock.
“.308 in 150 grain for instance, it's not there. It's not there anywhere,” Kukull said.
She said stores do have plenty of ammunition on the shelf, but it's more so specialty rounds that are usually hard to find.
“You're able to get caviar, but not butter, and that's where we are right now. What I call the vanilla loads, the entry level loads that people usually use have been very difficult to get,” Kukull said.
She said the holes on the shelves make for some frustrated customers looking for the bread-and-butter of their hunting supplies.
Kukull said it all stems from reaction to gun control legislation last year. The legislation sparked demand for handgun rounds and people started hoarding ammunition. That created a shortage of ammo according to Kukull.
She said with limited raw materials available to manufacturers that shortage rippled into rifle ammunition.
“That was the feeding frenzy and the panic attack. Now we are able to get a lot of those. We were told this would happen this summer with the rifle ammo. The industry is still playing catch-up if you will,” Kukull said.
That has left hunters like Gordon Nikkola high and dry.
“I actually stopped in Cabela's in Rogers yesterday, sold out. Went to Gander Mountain today, sold out, and then called over here and they got a delivery this morning so just zipped over and picked it up,” Nikkola said.
He said the rounds quadrupled in price over the last two years, but he had to pay it since he traveled from California for the deer opener.
“I flew 2,500 miles and, you know, spent $165 for an out-of-state license. And not having ammo would have ruined the whole weekend,” Nikkola said.
He will make every shot count, but Kukull said other hunters shouldn't expect to be so lucky finding ammo this weekend.
“Don't wait until Friday because you might be disappointed,” Kukull said.
She said ammunition manufacturers have not expanded operations because it is expensive and they expect the shortage to pass. Kukull expects rounds to restock the shelves by this spring.