LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Modern gun deer hunting season is just days away, and many hunters are finalizing their preparations by visiting outdoor supply and gun stores. 

But what many find when they look for ammunition are empty shelves or a severe lack of choices. 

According to gun shop owners, the shortage began in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, when millions of Americans became first-time firearm owners and began stocking up on ammunition. The presidential election added to the bulk buying, and recent supply chain shortages have led to even fewer options than before. 

Now, with Central Arkansans stocking up for deer season, ammunition is difficult to come by. 

Bryan Hearn at American Tiger Firearms in North Little Rock has seen the struggle to stock shelves firsthand and has had to buy shipments of ammunition as it becomes available. 

“It’s always a busy season for us,” Hearn said about deer season. “I mean, if they got a case, I’ll take a case.”

Nearby in Sherwood, Nathan House at Arkansas Armory is seeing the same thing. 

“It just is what it is,” said House, adding the events of 2020 helped lead to the shortage. “It really has created a big tsunami of a problem.”

Besides the lack of ammunition sales, House has seen a decrease in visitors to the Armory’s firing range, as hunters choose to save their ammunition for the actual hunt. 

For Hearn at American Tiger, he’s worked around that issue by installing a virtual firing range, which doesn’t require ammo at all. 

In terms of finding last-minute ammunition for this Saturday, both men say to call around and see what shops have. 

“The best advice I have is cast a wide net,” House said, while Hearn added, “I can’t tell you when it’s going to be over. Just be patient.”

Modern gun hunting season kicks off this Saturday, November 13.