TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. — Sporting goods shops in our area say finding ammunition for hunting rifles has been next to impossible.
The stock room at Gay's True Value in Tunkhannock is usually stuffed right before hunting season, but owner Doug Gay says it's looked this bare for months.
"Nothing for them, nothing for them. We can't even find them anywhere," Gay said.
Gun shops nationwide have been seeing shortages of ammunition. As Pennsylvania heads towards the busy rifle hunting seasons, Gay's is having to turn customers away.
"We have rifles, we can find some of them, but no hunting ammo for anybody," Gay said.
Their ammo suppliers say shortages may have something to do with the increase in gun sales. Millions of Americans purchased guns during the pandemic.
"Last year, we were starting to get a little short, and I brought all my ammo in from home, put them all in there. Now, we sold it all. I can't get any more for myself, I have enough for the two rifles I got, but I can't get any more."
Some hunters may have supply saved up, but the workers here say many do not. They receive at least a dozen calls a day from hunters looking for bullets.
"I feel so sorry for them," Robert Astegher said. "They're down to their last box of bullets, which is 20, and maybe they got 7 or 8 left after they sight in."
So there may be fewer shots fired in the Pennsylvania woods this month and maybe fewer hunters, too.
"Think it's going to take a toll on the number of hunters that are going to be in the woods," Astegher said.
Bear season starts statewide on Saturday. Rifle deer season begins on Saturday, November 27. This is the third year the state has held an earlier start for deer hunting instead of the traditional Monday after Thanksgiving.