BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Hundreds of Montanans are watching the clock and getting ready for the Saturday opening of the general big game season but stores are reporting at least one critical piece of gear is in short supply ammunition.

We spoke with six retailers, half of those stores were out of the 270 rounds.

"So far, there are no other stores in town that have it and this store doesn't have it, either," says Bozeman hunter Matt Belisle.

Belisle is talking about 270 rounds. He reloads his own rounds but when his friend told him she couldn't find any, he decided to take a look for her with no luck.

"If we don't get it, then we're going to practice less and keep our fingers crossed that the 12 rounds that she has right now will get her through the year," explains Belisle.

The 270 Winchester is one of the most popular hunting rounds.

It can be used to take down almost any North American game from deer and antelope to small moose.

While the 270 comes in several different grain weights, Powder Horn Manager Tom Johnson recommends hunters not get too picky about weight these days.

"We get a lot of people coming in. Just Thursday morning, there's been three people coming in, looking for a 270 shell," says Johnson.

Johnson says the ammunition shortage getting the best of folks like Belisle isn't a new problem. He says they've been short on bullets all year, from .22's to shotgun rounds.

"Very unusual. This has never really happened," says Johnson.

Johnson tells me, it's not a local shortage. Folks across the country are feeling the pinch. Johnson says he has five distributors and every day he goes online to see what they have.

"It may take three weeks before you get some more ammo in and it's gone within a day, sometimes a couple hours it can be gone and again, it'll take you two to three weeks to get more in again so, when you find it, you better grab it if you need it," explains Johnson.

It's one reason why folks like Belisle encourage fellow hunters to start gearing up for the season sooner rather than later.

"Start buying your ammo early and reload if you can," Belisle says.

Shedhorn sports in Ennis reports they have three or four boxes of 270 rounds. Sportsman's Warehouse employees say they just got a load in Thursday. Folks at Murdoch's tell us they also have 270 rounds available.

Both Walmart and Bob Ward's say they're out of 270 rounds but tell us they do have 30-06 rounds.