Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone but when she got there the cupboard was bare because there was a pandemic?

What is going on?

This week, I ventured into a well-known sporting goods store only to find one can of high-priced powder. A friend of mine, who has a summer home in Tyler County, West Virginia, told me he found a store with a pretty good supply of smokeless powder. The only problem was the price per pound. We who re-load ammunition and are accustomed to paying $35 a pound for 4350 and 4060 are now paying $47 – if we can find it. It seems the pandemic is creating a black market or seller’s market.


The reasons are many. For one thing, supplies are down because the work force is down all over the country. Look at the many “help wanted” signs. People who have been off during the shutdown are still home. Some are afraid to return to work, some don’t want to work anymore. This has caused a slowdown in manufacturing.

The trucking industry has slowed way down. My sources tell me that a couple of our most popular powders that are created abroad are being slowed way down because of importing.

I think the biggest reason is that the COVID-19 pandemic created a huge demand for firearms. Sales have reached record numbers. This has affected the ammunition supply across the country. Manufacturing of ammunition is actually very high but cannot keep up with the demand. Why did COVID cause this to happen and did it?

The fear of more restrictive firearms law that happened at the time of the elections caused a giant jump in the purchase of new firearms and ammunition. This sent people who had never owned a gun out to find one. People were afraid in a new way – they didn’t feel safe at home. Food shortages and police tension issues everywhere created fear. That fear caused people to want to protect themselves and what they have.

This run on guns is like a dog chasing his tail. Now, if you find a gun you can’t find ammunition. Why buy the gun at the high cost if you can’t take it out and shoot it? This affects the sales in firearms. Re-loading equipment, scopes, all things gun are scarce.

Look at the membership in gun clubs. Ours is way up. The increase in memberships at gun ranges and clubs is incredible.

Let’s see what the gun show at the Arden Fairgrounds produces on Sept. 25 and 26. ARH Sport Shop is again sponsoring a show. We who love guns can’t wait to see if there is something there worth buying.

There was once a shortage of guns and ammunition in this country. It was during the second World War. I was born in 1935. The war started in 1941. All manufacturing went toward the war effort. This led to many shortages. Before the war started, people didn’t own nearly the number of guns we have today. There were very few gun collectors. No one could afford it. Some people hunted for food, but they might have three guns total.

I remember watching guys getting ready to go to McKean County around this time. There were three guns present. One was a Krag converted military gun 30-40, an 1886 in 45-70 and a 94 Winchester in 30-30. Today that 45-70 would be worth more than $10,000. At that time, I was a youngster and that barrel looked huge.

These men were driving to Ludlow, located in McKean County, in an old Model A Ford. They would meet a few friends hitchhiking rides on a train. The train would stop and pick them up to drive them to Ludlow. Times were so different then.

Ludlow is a rural little town that was famous at one time for the locals fencing in the whole town to keep the deer out. They said there were so many deer they had to fence in the town. I can only say there was a fence there a long time ago.

After the war ended the shortage ended, and gun sales rocketed. Let’s hope that the same thing can be said after the pandemic.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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