Hunters find ammo shortage at start of season

Vicky Klukkert | The Daily StarShannon Losie, owner of Losie’s Gun Shop, places a mount and scope on a rifle Friday, Nov. 19, in anticipation of big-game hunting season.

Big game hunters flocked to area sporting goods stores last week to stock up on supplies in preparation for the start of hunting season Nov. 20.

On Friday morning, the parking lot at Sportsman Adventures was full, so people parked along Southside Drive and walked to the building. People were buying guns and any ammunition they could find, which wasn’t much.

Losie’s Gun Shop on state Route 23 in Davenport was also busy and also low on ammunition. Jim Losie said he has been in business for 42 years, and “this is the worst year to get anything. We get a little bit here and a little bit there and it’s gone as soon as we get it.”

His son, Shannon, who took over the business this year, said getting supplies this year has been tough.

“It could have been our best year if we could have gotten supplies,” Shannon said.

Mike Mayhood of Mayhood’s Sporting Goods in Norwich and Marisa Orezzoli of Gunners Dream in Sidney also said it was very hard to get ammunition.

When they do get ammunition, people find out by word of mouth and come to the stores to buy them out of what they have, they all said.

Jim Losie said he has not raised prices like other stores have. “I’m not going to price gouge the customers,” he said.

Orezzoli said the prices for ammunition in her store are higher than last year at this time, but she has tried to keep them as low as possible for their customers. “People have told me we have very fair prices here. We are trying to keep the prices low and we barely make anything. We want to take care of our customers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic supply chain issues and the increase number of people who purchased guns within the past year are contributing factors to the shortage. According to a Nov. 1 AP article, The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates about 8.4 million people bought a gun for the first time last year. One indicator of the surge in gun sales is that federal background checks for gun purchases climbed 40% last year to a record 39.7 million, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In addition, 2020 was a record year for hunting licenses issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, according to a media release. Sales for big game hunting and trapping licenses and deer management permits were nearly triple prior years’ sales on opening day, more than double on the second day and nearly double the first two weeks, the release said. It looks like this year may be the same. A person came into Losie’s looking to buy a hunting license and he was referred to the state website.

One new hunter this year is Michael McLaughlin, who was with his uncles at Losie’s getting a scope put on his new gun. He said he was excited to go hunting for the first time with his family. Brendan McLaughlin said his brother and cousins come up to hunt on his father’s property near Delhi and said they couldn’t find guns or ammunition downstate.

He said the deer population on his father’s property wasn’t bad, but, “I have yet to shoot one, while others have.”

The state has issued some new hunting regulations for this year, including a new rule that hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink clothing above the waist or an orange or pink hat. Mayhood said he has sold more orange clothing this year.

Jim Losie said he hasn’t sold more of the colorful clothing because, “most guys have already been doing that.”

According the DEC website, 253,990 deer were harvested in 2020. According to the state Department of Transportation, an estimated 70,000 car-deer accidents occur every year.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.

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