Deer hunting season in Wisconsin begins this Saturday, Nov. 20 through Nov. 28. But hunters are struggling to find ammunition for their guns.
Since the coronavirus began, there has been a spike in gun sales. An estimated 8.4 million people bought a gun for the first time last year, this according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. A record 39.7 million background checks were done, a 40 percent increase over last year according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin background checks for handguns rose 174 percent from 139,042 in 2019 to 242,330 in 2020.
“The increase costs of raw materials, shipping, warehousing and distribution are costs that are being passed along to the customer,” said Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation in an interview with Forbes in August 2021.
There is speculation for the rise in gun sales being from the recent violent actions taken at protests and riots, hate crime rates increasing, civil unrest at the Capital on Jan. 6 or the restrictive gun control measures that President Joe Biden has indicated he might make.
In August 2021, Pres. Biden did pose new sanctions on Russia on imports of certain firearms and ammunition due to the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny in August 2020. An estimated 40 percent of ammunition is imported from Russia.
Components in the ammunition including primers, brass and lead have also been dealing with supply chain issues. A basic ingredient like copper comes from mines mostly in South America and getting those products shipped to plants to be made into ammunition has not been easy.
Winchester Ammunition announced it would be raising its prices for the second time this year, first during the summer then starting Aug. 1, at about a 15 percent increase for ammunition and reloading supplies due to those supply issue.
But there is some good news on the horizon. A Rice Lake-based firearms manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms announced in October that it plans on expanding its operations with an 84,000 square foot building in Ladysmith. It is expected to employ over 100 people in the Rusk County area for within the next three years. Ammo, Inc., an ammunition components manufacturer based in Scottsdale, Ariz., plans to construct an expanded loaded ammunition and brass casing manufacturing plant in Manitowoc.
The 2021 Wisconsin deer season schedule has the regular deer season running from Nov. 20-28, muzzleloader Nov. 29-Dec. 8, statewide antlerless hunt Dec. 9-12 and farmland zone holiday hunt Dec. 24-Jan. 1. For those not wanting to deal with all the issues with guns and ammunition, bow deer season began Sept. 18 and runs through Jan. 9.
For more information on hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt.