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Hunting ammo prices expected to drop from pandemic pricing

Supply chain issues last fall made finding ammunition for hunting hard to come by.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Pennsylvania's statewide regular firearms deer season won't start until November 27, though that shouldn't keep hunters from preparing now.

An ammunition shortage in 2021 left gun shops struggling to keep stocked. 

"It was an abundance of demand for ammunition," National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Spokesperson Mark Oliva said. 

FOX43 spoke with Freedom Armory Owner Scott Miller in 2021 about the shortage.

"I've been saying for a year to customers around here, 'if you need hunting ammo, you better start hunting for it now because it doesn't exist," Miller said.

That may not be the case for the hunting season of 2022 however. Oliva says ammunition manufacturers have been working around the clock to meet demand.

"Those folks had their shifts running around the clock as well, three shifts turning on as much ammunition as it possibly could," Oliva said. "We're seeing more capacity being brought into some of these factories as well."

However, a recent ruling from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) could cause more headaches for some hunters in the near future.

Lead ammunition, a traditional form of ammo, is banned for use in 18 new hunting opportunities under the USFWS ruling, condemned by the NSSF.

"Part of that deal is that they will either phase out or they will ban the use of traditional lead ammunition in those areas," Oliva said.

Some states do offer incentives for switching to different types of ammo, though Oliva says there are concerns.

"They're going to have to be paying higher prices for much rarer and much more expensive alternative ammunition," Oliva said. "It really puts a pinch on their wallet."

In 2019, hunters were spending 33 cents a round. The price spiked to nearly a dollar during the height of the pandemic but has since fallen.

"Overall, we're looking a little bit better than we were last year," Oliva said. "It's still not back to where we were pre-pandemic."

Oliva says hunters should be stocking up now regardless of what ammo they plan on using.

"If you find that good deal on ammunition, you know, jump on it while you can," Oliva said.

A full list of the state's season dates and bag limits can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website.

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