Shops bite bullet on hunting season

When it comes to .22-caliber ammunition favored by hunters for the small-game season, local gun dealers say you better buy it if you see it.

Many shelves, including those stocked by Mike Brown at Sportsman’s Warehouse, 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50, are bare of the prized rounds.

“We got 18 cases (10,000 rounds) in last Friday, and we were sold out by noon Sunday,” said Brown, the store’s hunting manager.

“And this wasn’t just a few people hoarding ... most were buying two or three boxes at a time.”

Local store owners say if you’re heading out for rifle hunting season, be prepared to pay more.

While high-end ammunition for rifles is still plentiful locally, a national shortage of common rounds, particularly .270-caliber, 30.6 and .22-caliber, continues to frustrate consumers in Grand Junction.

The shortage is largely attributed to fears that President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress will push a gun control agenda.

“The funny thing is: This president and liberal Congress has never said a word about revisiting anything to do with ammo controls,” said Jerry Stehman, owner of Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, 507 30 Road.

Stehman said his shop has been out of standard 30.6 ammunition for the past two months.

The crunch has forced Stehman to search a lot longer and harder for ammo distributors than he has in years past.

“I think we’re going to be in this situation for another six months to a year,” Stehman said.

Jim Palmer, a gunsmith at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, 445 W. Gunnison Ave., said the rush on ammunition has extended to various components used to reload firearms, such as primers.

“I’ve had people from 19 different states calling me trying to get certain types of ammunition,” Palmer said. “And I stopped counting at 19.”

Aside from the ammunition shortage, Palmer said he expects a sour national economy will have just as much of an impact on hunting season.

That’s perhaps reflected in slower-than-usual sales for various firearm accessories.

“People can’t afford to go out and buy that new scope,” Palmer said. “They’re using what they already have.”


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