Hunting supply stores struggle to stock ammunition | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle Bullets designed to kill elephants sit on the counter at Bob’s Gun Shop in Alpena as owner Robert Skuse reflects on customers’ difficulties purchasing ammunition.

ALPENA – Hunters keen to stock up on ammunition before heading to the woods may find themselves faced with empty shelves, according to local vendors.

A nationwide ammunition shortage has spread to northeast Michigan, and gun retailers cannot order enough inventory to satisfy their customers.

At Bob’s Gun Shop in Alpena, owner Robert Skuse considers himself lucky to have found a box of ammo to add to his meager stock.

Lots of ammo boxes stretched out on store shelves will be of no use to many of his customers, as the older styles he has in stock will not fit newer guns. The most popular ammunition is almost impossible to obtain, Skuse said.

“These are tough times,” Skuse said. “Here it is, hunting season, and we don’t have the ammunition. “

News Photo by Julie Riddle Robert Skuse, owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Alpena, discusses ammo shortages sitting next to shelves lined with boxes of ammo many of his customers can’t use.

Suppliers, short of materials and workers, can’t fill orders, even for longtime customers like his store, Skuse said.

Desperate for all the ammo he can get his hands on, Skuse recently purchased a box of bullets designed for elephant hunting.

He has more ammo than the rest of the stores in the area, he believes, but he has to pay higher prices to get it. Employee Barb Cole has to spend hours online every day, tracking down spare parts inventory, Skuse said.

Some hunters, put off by the high prices local store owners have to charge as their own costs rise, decide that the half-box they have at home will be enough this year, Cole said.

Riflescopes and other gun accessories are also hard to find. Skuse has a lot of guns in stock, but it’s not the kind his customers want, he said.

“I have to take what I can get,” he said. “We will get out of this. “

With 20 to 25 rounds in a box and a low harvest limit, most hunters have leftover ammo from last year and aren’t worried that ammo shortages will keep them from getting out of the woods, Pilarski said, employee of Adrian’s Sport Shop in Rogers City.

The store has limited supplies but there are still a few boxes of ammunition on the shelves, Pilarski said.

At A-1 Woods and Waters in Hillman, owner Lisa Ferguson gets multiple phone calls and pop-ins a day asking for a popular ball she hasn’t received from suppliers all year.

“They leave shaking their heads,” Ferguson said. “But nobody has it.”

Realizing the nationwide shortage, she kept her stockpile of ammunition in reserve until November 1 so local deer hunters have a better chance of finding what they need for rifle season.

It limits clients to a single box of ammunition. Most understand the restriction, although some may want to stockpile if they see more than one box in stock.

“Why do you need six boxes?” Ferguson said. “Spread the wealth. “

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