Alberta gun owners stocking up on ammunition during COVID-19 pandemic
‘I have the same guys coming in every day to buy whatever they can afford that day'
The panic buying in Alberta has seen everything from pasta to toilet paper get snapped up in record numbers.
And now, some are turning to stockpiling guns and ammunition.
Martin Tinney, owner of Swamp Donkey Outdoors north of Spruce Grove, west of Edmonton, says he's been working around the clock to keep up with the demand.
"Right now, nobody wants hunting rifles, they want shotguns, they want defenders, that's what they want," said Tinney, who has been supplying hunters and target shooters for nearly 17 years in the Edmonton area.
He says his store saw gun owners stockpiling ammunition more than a year ago, as rural Albertans loaded up on ammunition to protect their property from what he says is a rise in rural crime due to the slumping economy.
But now he says people are coming in and buying ammunition because of fears and uncertainty over COVID-19.
Tinney said most of his sales have been ammunition, but he still has a lot of supplies left.
But he says he's also heard of an ammunition shortage in some parts of Alberta, including one woman who drove 90 minutes to buy ammunition from him on Monday because all of the stores where she lives are sold out.
'I've got $50, how much can I get?'
"I have the same guys coming in every day to buy, whatever they can afford that day," he added.
"If they have $50 in their pocket, 'I need 12-gauge buckshot, I've got $50, how much can I get?' And they don't ask the price — 'How much can I get?' — and they come in every day and buy whatever they can afford."
'Buckshot is completely sold out'
David McDonald, 23, got his gun licence last month after completing the lengthy process, which includes an RCMP background check.
Last week, he was in big-box retailer Cabela's and said the lineup to get up to the gun counter was more than 30 minutes long.
"I went in because I heard they were selling out, and the one that I wanted was on sale," said McDonald, who ended up buying himself a Winchester SXP, a shotgun he plans to use for hunting and sport shooting.
He also picked some ammunition, but didn't get everything he wanted.
"I got some of the ammo I was hoping to buy but buckshot is completely sold out in the city as far as I could find, pretty much it's just bird shot and slugs available."