Has your pheasant hunting season been affected by a shortage of ammunition? The good news is that outdoorlife.com reported in July of 2021 that the lack of ammunition was easing up ever so slightly. Regardless of the shortage, the desire to hunt has not slowed down even with price increases. The purchase of hunting licenses and hunting has surged since Covid 19 lockdowns began in 2019. We have mentioned in the past that one of the few safe distancing activities is being outdoors in the woods and fields.
Mike Martz, the owner of Martz's Gap View Hunting Preserve in Dalmatia, Pennsylvania, is a good friend of MacFarlane Pheasants' owner, Bill MacFarlane. Mike said that hunting at Gap View Hunting Preserve has continued to thrive but they had to change some of their past practices. A little more than a year ago, he decided to have ammunition available for hunters. He would need to buy 12-18 months in advance of the season in Pennsylvania. The ammunition companies have a 200 flat minimum for purchases, so he began making large purchases. He said that smaller preserves would probably have to get together with other small businesses to purchase that much ammunition at a time. When I asked Mike what he thought was causing the problem, he told me that from his conversations with various people, he concluded that Covid related shutdowns are only part of the problem. The other issue is that, since 2020, there have been 8-11 million new gun owners. The new owners needed ammunition, so factories were producing ammunition for them, and shot for pheasant and other wild birds were put on the back burner.
You might ask how other hunters are getting ammunition for their hunts. The lucky ones had lots of ammo on hand! Outdoorlife.com reported that shells are being sold in smaller amounts at a time so that more people can have the opportunity to hunt. Though the shortage is not preventing hunters from going out into the fields, they seem to be hunting closer to home and not hunting for as many days.
On October 15, 2021DakotaNewsNow.com reported that on the day before pheasant season opened, stores had been getting ammunition every week. The amount did not compare to past years, however. Co-owner of So Dak Sports in South Dakota, A.J. Hoffman, reports that ammo has been short for the last 16 months. The store currently has a two-box limit on shells. The good news is there are shells!
In an article in Wisconsin Public Radio, the author shared a comment by Tony Blattler, an avid hunter, and chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. He said that just about everyone he knows would stop at any gun shop or outdoor store while on the road to check for ammunition during this year's pheasant hunting season. According to Wisconsin Public Radio, Ammo, Inc. announced plans earlier this year to build a $12 million ammunition and brass casing manufacturing plant in Manitowoc, WI. The company plans to open the plant next summer with 150 employees. Rationing and high prices are part of the Wisconsin dilemma, and hopefully, adding this ammunition plant will help with these two problems.
I'm sorry to say we should expect to see shortages and more expensive shells in the industry for a while longer. There is an ammunition shortage at this time across the entire United States. MacFarlane Pheasants will continue to grow pheasants and depend on the ammunition industry to produce the ammo. We know that hunters still want to hunt!