NEW YORK — Sanctioned recreational firearm shooting programs across Western New York are feeling the pinch of the shortage of ammunition in the local supply chain. Sportsmen everywhere enter supply stores and usually head right for the ammo racks, to check if their favorite loads are in stock.
When New York, Colorado, Maryland and Connecticut all passed their highly controversial tougher gun laws, after the tragic December Newtown, Conn. shootings, lawful firearm owners worried that ammunition sales would be abruptly curtailed.
It didn’t take long for ammunition shelves all over the country to become dust collectors. Supply and demand soon reflected paniced buying behavior and outrageous bullet and ammo pricing followed at gun counters. Among the most sought-after ammo is the once-inexpensive .22 caliber. Two years ago, a box of 50 long rifle bullets would cost about $3; today, it is hard to find the same for less than $15.
During a recent field trip to the Detroit, Mich. area, I found a Bass Pro Shop store, a Cabela’s store, three Gander Mountain stores and several Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, all nearby. Calling ahead to ask on inventory availability for .22 caliber ammo, I quickly discovered that the stores were all in short supply.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Bass Pro reported they receive a .22 caliber ammo shipment of limited supply, some in 500-count tins, but also reported the entire shipment is gone in less than an hour or two, after their 10 a.m. opening.
Cabela’s reported that shipments came in on Thursdays only, but that the supply would be sold out in less than an hour. Gander Mountain reported shipments went on sale each Monday morning and the same immediate sales resulted, followed by the same supply issues. Dick’s did not report a regular delivery day rule, but said “we get it in and it sells, in minutes.”
I also checked every Gander Mountain and Dick’s between Detroit and Buffalo by phone, for any supply of .22 caliber ammo, but none of these stores had stock. Ammunition suppliers say that they are catching up with record demand and sales of their ammo. To battle the shortages, such ammo manufacturers as Alliant Tecksystems, Hornady, CCI and others have increased production, but cannot meet the demand.
Legally registered firearms owners unequivocally condemn laws such as the New York Safe Act, calling it the “Safe Act for Criminals,” since it removes firearms from lawful owners. Like many others, I am a consistent supporter of tough and effective laws, but the NY SAFE Act leaves so many loopholes. The way it was passed, by rather politically forceful means, at midnight, without input to legislators from their tax-paying constituents, it seems not only the law is wrong, but the process is more so.
Above all, a program that is sponsored by the U.S. government, the Civilian Marksmanship Patrol, intended to keep our unmilitary militia in some form of training, is also jeopardized by ammunition supply issues.
The federal law that established the CMP makes firearms safety one of its highest priorities. This law states that a primary function of the CMP is “to instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship [and] to promote practice and safety in the use of firearms.”
To fulfill this responsibility, the CMP produces a variety of safety materials, that can be ordered through the CMP E-Store at www.estore.odcmp.com or www.odcmp.com/Comm/Publications.htm.
Target shooting established its record as one of the safest of all sports because everyone in it must learn and follow basic safety rules.
There are several thousand junior shooting clubs, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps unit rifle teams, 4-H shooting sports clubs, Boy Scout troops and venturing crews, youth camps and junior shooting organizations, as well as local Western New York adult organizations, that practice and compete in shooting activities.
These programs have more than 100,000 participants in the United States. Youth and adult marksmanship activities have compiled an outstanding safety record, in which gun-related accidents are extremely rare. Rifle marksmanship activities are among the safest of all youth sports. Target shooting is a sport of control and discipline, in which everyone involved, including participants, instructors, coaches and range officers, is expected to know and apply the sport’s safety rules at all times.
Locally, the CMP program is open to any U.S. citizen and East Aurora Fish & Game, located on Luther Road in East Aurora, conducts a CMP program on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, starting at 6 p.m. sharp, concluding at dusk. Club membership is not required.
Participants learn range safety, basic range commands, the proper use and adjustment of iron sights, breathing and trigger control, the use and adjustment of a shooting sling from the standing, sitting and prone positions, basic care and maintenance of the M-1 Garand rifle. The course also serves as a good introduction to the NRA High-power Rifle Competition.
The club provides M-1 Garand rifles and ammunition, if needed. For youth shooters and the ladies, M-1 carbines and the limited number of AR-15 rifles are available. Shooters may also provide their own U.S. type service rifle and ammunition. Participants must provide their own hearing and eye protection. A long-sleeved shirt and an old towel or blanket, to protect your elbows, is also suggested. Shooters younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information on this program, call 652-2256.
According to Shooting Sports News, “Ammo production has stepped up, with many major ammo manufacturers such as ATK, CCI, Hornady and others expanding, with more machines and more employees. The message remains the same: manufacturers are working hard to ensure that customers get what they want.”
America is evolving and we all need to be good listeners and better contributors to the discussion. WNY environmental federation meeting
The Western New York Environmental Federation meeting is set for Sunday, Sept. 8, at 1 p.m. at Hoak’s Restaurant, located at S4100 Lakeshore Road, Hamburg. This meeting will help define the agenda for discussion at the New York State Conservation Council annual meeting, to be held later in September. Newly-elected President Zen Olaw, said he would like to see many sportsmen attend this meeting and provide input. Scott Faulkner will not be running for vice president of the council and we may have a candidate for that position. Reports will be provided from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Conservation Fund Advisory Council and many others. According to NYSCC Director Dan Tone, the meeting lasts about 90 minutes. Call 655-0975, for information.NY bowhunter summer camps
As the summer of 2013 comes to an end, New York Bowhunter announced that 85 youths throughout New York State attended their annual summer youth camps, bringing the total to more than 1,700, since its inception. This program is provided at no cost to any young person in New York State, ages 11 – 16 years of age. NYB began its youth camp program in the summer of 1993. The NYB is one organization opposed to the use of crossbows, during archery season in NYS.Outdoor calendar
– Aug. 30: NYS Hunter Safety Training, Elma Conservation, 600 Creek Road, pick up materials 7 – 8 p.m. for the Sept. 14 – 15 course. For more information, call 681-5690.
– Aug. 31: NYS Archery Training, Allied Sportsmen, 12847 Clinton St., Marilla, home study, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call 474-0460, 6 – 9 p.m.
– Sept. 5: Archery Shoot, West Falls Conservation Society, 15 targets, 4 p.m. – dusk, unlimited shooting, open to the public. For more information, call 655-5030.
– Sept. 8: WNY Environmental Federation Meeting, 1 p.m., Hoak’s Restaurant, S4100 Lakeshore Road, Hamburg.
– Sept. 10: 3D Archery Shoot, Allied Sportsmen Club, 12846 Clinton St., Marilla, 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.alliedsportsmen.com.
– Sept. 11: 3D Archery Shoot, Evans Rod & Gun, Cain Road, 4 p.m.-dusk. For more information, call 549-0333.
– Sept. 11: 3D Archery Shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora, 5 p.m.– dusk, unlimited shooting, target bunks, open to the public. For more information, call 982-7069.
– Sept. 7-14: NYS Hunter Safety Training, Southtowns Walleye Association, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 7, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 14. For more information, call 627-0147.
– Sept. 14: WNY Chapter 29 Pheasants Forever Banquet, Classics Banquet Hall, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. For more information and tickets, call 568-1619 or 433-3547.
– Sept. 28: Annual Hunting Expo, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, 777 Seneca Allegany Road, Salamanca, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 716-569-6810 or visit www.yorkpennshows.com.
Email information for the outdoor calendar of Rod, Gun & Game to Forrest Fisher Column, 10 days in advance, to email@example.com.