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Ammo supplies being hoarded?

The ammunition cupboard is almost bare at Doyle's Farm & Home in New Richmond. Owner Pat Doyle shows off one of the remaining boxes of ammo he still has.

Gun owners and shooting enthusiasts have been a little panicked by the election of a new president.

They apparently are worried that higher taxes and more restrictions on ammunition, rifles and handguns are just around the corner.

As a result, in the months following Barack Obama's election, local businesses have seen a significant increase in the sale of bullets and certain guns.

Pat Doyle, owner of Farm & Home in New Richmond, said he can't believe the hoarding that's going on among sportsmen today.

"We've been out of pistol ammo for three or four months," he said.

The rumor that started the rush on pistol ammunition was that gun owners expect a possible huge tax increase on the cartridges in the coming months.

Doyle's supplier, Federal Premium Ammunition, is indicating that it might take six to nine months to fill the back orders that are stacking up at their production plants.

"And now the .22 ammo is disappearing. It sounds like people are worried about future legislation," Doyle said.

Doyle said he's been getting phone calls and seeing shoppers from the Twin Cities area asking for ammunition.

"They're kind of hoping that we're far enough away that we're not aware of the ammo shortage," he said. "I have to tell them that we've been wiped out too."

He doesn't want to panic anyone, but Doyle suggested that if hunters want to ensure that they have ammunition for the fall deer season, they might think about buying some now.

"You hate to alarm people, but it might be a good idea," he said. "The way it's going, you might have a hard time finding ammo if you wait too long."

For those thinking they'll just create new bullets from old casings, Doyle said think again. Re-loading supplies and primers are running low too.

The shortage of ammunition isn't only because of the concern over changes in gun laws and taxes, Doyle said.

Doyle noted that orders for bullets from the military are a higher priority than recreational ammo, so many manufacturers have been concentrating on that production in recent months instead. That means that ammunition available for retail sales is even less.

Corey Russell, co-owner of Russell's Sport and Bike in Star Prairie, said he's seen a sharp decline in ammunition inventory as well.

"There's a lot of stuff you can't even buy," he said. "We're able to get some by shopping around, and begging and borrowing. I check our supplier's inventory every day -- there's never anything there."

Prices on the ammunition that is still available has gone through the roof, Russell reported. A $10 box of bullets is now going for twice that amount, and people are willing to pay it.

Russell said he's hopeful that ammo supplies will pick up in the next month or so, but there's no guarantee.

"Rumors and conjecture are fueling a lot of this," he said.

Handguns and high-capacity rifle sales have also been brisk in the past few months, Russell said.

Certain types of guns, which could be targeted for future federal restrictions, have been popular items at his store, Russell said.

"This is happening across the country," he said.