I think the hoarding crowd has pretty much had their fill. There are still some profiteers buying up ammo at the big box stores and selling it at flea markets and gun shows. But with manufacturers cranking it out at a steady rate there should still be ammo out there if you are looking for it. And you can find it occasionally. Oh, there is plenty of the match grade ammo out there. But who wants to pay $15 for a box of 50 rounds of .22 LR?
I think the problem now can be attributed to the faster than normal growth of the large outdoor retailers, or as they are referred to “Hook and Bullet” stores. Due to increased interested in all outdoor sports to include hunting and target shooting all of them have been rapidly expanding their footprint. Let’s look at our area alone. In the last year we have had a Cabela’s open in Greenville, SC and a Bass Pro in Bristol. Cabela’s will also be opening a store soon in Bristol and Bass Pro one in Spartanburg. We also have a Field & Stream opening in Asheville this October.
When you look at those store’s websites you see even more plans. Field & Stream has plans for stores in Greensboro, Charleston, SC, and two in Alabama. Bass Pro Shop shows seventeen future stores on their store locator map and Cabela’s has the same number planned. Add in Gander Mountain, Academy Sports, Sports Authority, well you get the idea. It is a supply and demand issue, but it is not consumer demand as much as it is retailer demand. Those new stores don’t increase demand by the case, but by the pallet or tractor trailer load.
Here is my analogy. If you have a one acre pond being fed by stream water through a four inch pipe for years it maintains a constant level. What happens if you start continually expanding the pond without increasing the flow of water? Well, the pond never fills up. It never gets back to a normal level. So you take the most popular ammo among shooters, increase the number of shooters (according to industry standards), and increase supply chain demand without an increase in production and you have a resulting ammo shortage. Until retailers stop expansion and/or the manufacturers increase their production capacity, I’m afraid there is no end in sight.
I don’t want to wade too deeply into the controversy surrounding the killing of Cecil the lion, but most of the things I’ve read in the press or on TV are based on misinformation. First, no one seems to be mentioning the role of the Professional Hunter (PH). You don’t just step off a plane in Zimbabwe with your bow and arrow and start hunting. It is strictly controlled and hunters must contract through a PH for any hunt. Most of those hunts are done to take out nuisance animals or thin populations. I’ve never been on an African hunt, but they are similar to those in Europe where I have hunted. This I do know: You do not shoot at any animal unless the PH tells you to. We also need to step back and consider the economic impact that these big game hunts not only have on the local economy but also on their wildlife program. These countries depend on huge big game fees to sustain their wildlife programs and manage populations. Stopping these hunts, or curtailing them, will do significant damage to both.