EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - With the sights of blaze orange and the sounds of rifles just days away, an ammunition shortage is challenging gun deer hunters wanting to stock up for the season.
David Gay of Fall Creek said he's happy to pass on his passion for deer hunting to his daughter and grandson.
“My grandson is old enough to hunt now; my daughter has gotten back into hunting. I taught them how to handle rifles properly and now they want me to teach them how to hunt,” Gay said. “Makes a person smile from ear to ear. It's precious times.”
But getting what he needs to have those precious times has been harder this year.
“The type of ammunition I look for is like bread on the shelf. It's a common thing. And there's no reason for it not to be there,” he said.
Before they can hunt in the woods, many have to hunt through store shelves to find the ammo they need.
The Bores Nest Guns n Ammo on Seymour Road owner John Van Toll said he has a bigger supply than other stores do, but not as much as he'd like.
“I've already had a lot of phone calls from folks who can't find what they're looking for at any of the bigger box stores. They're calling us little guys and when it's gone it's gone,” Van Toll said.
“People that don't have shells for their plan A rifle are having to find a plan B pretty quickly.”
Hunters have their own theories on why it's happening and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said hunters are hoarding bullets, fearful of potential law changes restricting supplies.
“In my opinion, it's related to the factories, because they have had several months to correct the situation and haven't,” Gay said.
“When they start talking about gun control in Washington, people start buying things they're afraid they might not be able to get,” Van Toll said.
Federal Premium Ammunition said the shortage is due to the civilian market and that they're making process improvements to be more efficient.
This year, there are about 7,000 more licensed gun-deer hunters in the state so far, compared to last.