The Sea Tow Foundation and it's North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council recently announced winners of the National Boating Industry Safety Award. A second-year repeat winner, MarineMax, took home top honors in a new category for the Top Marine Retailer with More Than Three Locations.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program announced its new Smallbore Postal Competition, set to begin in January 2021. The event will feature 3-Position and Prone matches, fired from a distance of 50 feet, and is open to both Adult and Junior athletes.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet January 25-28, 2021 by webinar.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Saturday, Jan. 23.
Leica Sport Optics has announced its support of the Wild Sheep Foundation, by signing up as a Platinum sponsor of Sheep Week, which this year takes place virtually from Jan 11 to 16, but the virtual platform will be accessible until Feb 16.

Savage Arms announced the release of their IMPULSE Big Game rifle line. An American made rifle, the new entry features a straight-pull action.
The 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation schedule features five opportunities for grass-roots anglers to battle some of the country’s best bass fisheries.
- GEAR -
SPORT RIDGE AR front and rear sights are shipping now. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, they lock in the upright position and the rear sight fits under most optics.
Refined and modernized for the 21st century, Galco's Miami Classic II shoulder holster system carries a handgun in a horizontal position for a very fast draw. It also orients its double spare ammo carrier in a horizontal position.

The hunting of female mountain lions in north central Montana hunting districts 411 and 412, which includes portions of Golden Valley, Fergus, and Judith Basin counties, closed at one-half hour after sunset on Monday, January 11, 2021.
Primary Arms Government is now a primary distributor for TRIARC Systems and will be carrying the complete line of TRIARC rifles, pistols, and parts.
The Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit begins 2021 with several new management team appointments. These changes continue to maximize synergies and strengths across the organization to better serve customers, dealers and boat builders.
Primary Arms has unveiled their new company logo, which will represent Primary Arms across their optics, retail, wholesale, and government divisions.

Hornady has been selected as the winner in three categories of the 2021 Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Awards.
Mossberg’s newest autoloader, the 940 JM Pro competition shotgun, has been recognized as the 2021 Shooting Illustrated Shotgun of the Year, presented by the National Rifle Association Publications.
Morganton, North Carolina, based Blue Ridge Marketing has hired Champ Denton as a representative.
SIG SAUER Academy announced that the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services has approved the SIG SAUER Academy Semi-Automatic Pistol Instructor Course for their Armed Guard Instructors. The New York DCJS is a statewide multi-function support agency.

- JOBS -
Each year, the DNR Parks and Recreation Division looks to hire roughly 1,200 seasonal park workers and more than 50 seasonal park rangers to help deliver memory-making outdoor experiences at state parks, state forest campgrounds, harbors and other DNR-managed recreation facilities.
Knife Rights’ Ohio Knife Law Reform Bill, SB 140, was signed yesterday by Governor Mike DeWine. The law will take effect on April 10, 2021. Existing law remains in effect until that time.
The New Hampshire Second Amendment State Preemption Act, HB 307, has been introduced. This bill adds teeth to the state's existing preemption law for knives -- as well as firearms and ammunition.
Joe Biden’s Twitter message to former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords may read like a threat against one gun rights organization, but it is really an attack on every gun owner in the nation, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

Utilizing patented technology from Victory’s new industry-dominating VAP SS™ hunting arrow and the innovative design of the original Voodoo™ bolt, Victory engineers have created a game changing micro-diameter crossbow arrow.
As Kryptek’s exclusive provider of water transfer printing films, TWN now expands their lineup of over 20 Kryptek patterns to include eight color variations of Kryptek’s newest family of camouflage patterns, Obskura.
Plano Synergy has launched a new, easy way to navigate through 2021 new hunting products. The new microsite features new products from the many Plano Synergy family of brands covering archery, waterfowl, deer and turkey hunting, and more.
Pulsar unveiled the Thermion XM30 3.5-14x Thermal Riflescope. It guarantees adult-sized heat signature detection up to 1,400 yards away, day or night.

Sam Hoag will work in the National Deer Association's Conservation Department under Director Matt Ross, Xavier Austin will work in the Hunting Heritage Department under Director Hank Forester, and James Dutton will work in the Grassroots Department under Assistant Directors Josh Hillyard and Mike Edwards.
Base Camp Leasing, broker of top-quality hunting leases in more than 25 states, has thrown its support behind The Duck Hunters Organization as a ‘Champion of Delta’ Corporate Sponsor.
Safari Club International is pleased to announce WSI Sportswear as a new licensing partner. The Minnesota-based company known for its high-tech sports apparel brings the same quality to SCI logo wear in 2021.
Wildlife Forever announces a new partnership with Minnesota Native Landscapes, Inc. for strategic restoration efforts to enhance public land, reduce barriers for participation, and connect land managers to resources needed to accomplish on-the-ground projects.

Indiana Conservation Officer James Schreck has been selected as the 2020 District 8 Officer of the Year.
Blocker Outdoors, makers of Scent Blocker clothing and Scent Shield odor control products, has renewed as a Whitetails Unlimited national sponsor.
The Association of Collegiate Anglers announces AFTCO as a returning partner for the 2021 season of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.
Big game hunters have until January 31 to submit mandatory harvest reports and fulfill a crucial role in the management of Idaho’s big game herds.
The Department of the Interior announces three new actions by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an the National Park Service to aggressively increase broadband internet access in rural communities and reduce wildfire risks.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and partnering organizations and agencies captured and translocated bighorn sheep this month to an area of the Little Belt Mountains about 65 miles southeast of Great Falls.
Nearly 1,200 acres of vital elk winter range in northern New Mexico is now permanently protected and opened to public access. 

Before the holidays, both firearm and ammunition makers told anyone who would listen that they were doing all they could to keep up with burgeoning demand. One ammo CEO said “If I had an extra plant hiding around here somewhere I might get caught up.”

Jason Hornady of Hornady Manufacturing was equally succinct when he released a video that said “if we make it today, it ships tomorrow.”

Ammo makers aren’t sitting on product. Neither are gunmakers. But the capacities of both are still being strained by demand.

For the past few days, we’ve been running one of our decidedly unscientific surveys of independent gun dealers around the country.

Here’s the gist of what we’ve found: their supplies aren’t exhausted, they’re decidedly limited. For some frustrated customers, not having what they want means they don’t have anything. That’s not the case in any of the locations surveyed.

In Birmingham, Alabama, one independent store owner noted a record day on Saturday -$85,000 worth of sales. That’s a lot of sales, even for a large independent store.

But he’s not the exception.

Up the street, Mark’s Outdoor Sports customers crowded the aisles throughout the store.

It’s peak deer season, so hunters were prowling for all manner of supplies. But customers again congregated most heavily in two areas: firearms and accessories, and ammunition.

Both stores had new guns on hand, although with far more limited than normal selections.

Both shops were similar in the absence of two things: ammunition in “common” calibers and used guns.

Marks had “some” 2.23/.308 and pistol ammo -in limited quantities and selections, but quantities of ammo for less “common” calibers (think 6.8 PRC and big-bore, dangerous-game calibers).

Traditional hunting calibers were either severely limited or out.

Across town, a third retailer had a “regular customer” come in while our shopper was there. He handed the manager some money and the manager went into the back and got a small box.

He handed it to the beaming customer who promptly turned on his heel and left.

What was in the box?

Ammo. More specifically, .270 caliber premium hunting ammo.

It had gotten so scarce in Birmingham that with Alabama’s deer season peaking, this gun shop was holding premium hunting ammunition for their best customers.

Prices didn’t appear to have been increased much on ammo in any of the three locations, despite the high demand. But all three stores enjoy longstanding reputations for treating customers fairly.

That’s decidedly not the case with all gun shops across the country.

Across the midwest, we’re getting frequent complaints from readers that hunting ammo either isn’t readily available, or is available at prices significantly higher than only a few months ago.

Unfortunately, some price increases are inevitable. Raw material prices have remained fairly stable, but shipping is one little-discussed cost that has risen during the pandemic. Manufacturers are approaching the point where those costs are more than they’re willing - or able- to absorb.

We’ve already received (but have yet to confirm) an informational sheet from one ammo manufacturer notifying distributors and retailers that increased costs will mean their ammo prices will be go up next month. Those increases ranged from 5-12 percent, depending on the raw material used in the ammunition.

In a time when manufacturers are working to obtain as much raw material as is available, it’s not unreasonable to expect some price increases.

The shrinking supply of used firearms, however, is more puzzling.

From the conversations we’ve had with retailers, there may be two possible explanations.

First, a significant number of buyers aren’t looking to “trade up” for newer models or different variants of their preferred brands. Instead, they’re adding new models and hanging onto their old ones.

A second possibility, although less common, seems to be holding true across the country.

Some looking to sell or trade guns have unreasonable expectations for their trade-in value.

As one dealer told me, “the fact I don’t have a case full of a certain model pistol doesn’t mean I’m willing to pay a premium for a used one. They’re in demand, but they’re still available.”

Today is a high-demand marketplace, not a panicked one.

Prices rise to unreasonable levels when consumers fear they won’t be able to buy anything.

Thankfully, we’re not to that point- yet. But we’re all nervous about the future.

We’ll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd

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