Two new studies “add scientific evidence that hunters’ lead ammunition often finds its way into carrion-eating birds, such as eagles and turkey vultures.” So when will conservation-minded hunters stop using lead ammunition? Surely the hunters who come onto 10,000 Birds to talk about what great conservationists hunters are will agree that lead ammunition should not be used to hunt? Why, then, is lead still used to hunt? And why do hunting organizations largely line up against banning lead ammunition for hunting? Why do I see hunters all kinds of angry about the idea of lead ammunition being banned on every hunting forum and blog that I visited with no one arguing in favor of a lead hunting ban?
One might think that hunters only act as conservationists when they are forced to by law.
I’m not going to shoehorn all hunters into one neat little box. I will say that in many cases I see hunters being conservationists when it benefits them (e.g. habitat preservation), but not so much when it may impact hunting (e.g. predator reintroductions). We all have our motivation for conservation. Sometimes that of birders overlaps that of hunters. Sometimes it doesn’t. I do know many hunters in my family that hunt for food only and are true conservationists at heart. If folks like that continue to use lead, it’s only out of ignorance of these studies.
Politics often seems to be about protecting one’s own. Lead is cheaper than copper. Amazing how we know lead is so bad and yet it is still being used for game hunting.
Lead shot is illegal in all States in wetlands (waterfowl) and has been for over 20 years. Please guys get your facts strait.
@Kirby Adams: I don’t know how anyone could possibly be ignorant of the harm lead causes. And I can’t think of any other hobby that introduces lead to the environment that still has its hobbyists calling themselves conservationists. But, yeah, not all hunters are made from the same cloth and there are some good hunters out there, they are just outshouted and outnumbered by the mouth-breathing Neanderthals.
@Robert (Birding is Fun!): Exactly.
@Dr. Dan Stephens: I am not sure what facts you think are wrong here. The only time that hunters stop using lead is when it is made illegal. Hunters still use lead bullets over steel everywhere that they can and fight tooth and nail to prevent further restrictions.
@Dr Stephens- True, there is a nationwide ban on lead shot for waterfowl. But only 23 states have blanket bans on lead shot meaning that 27 still allow lead for hunting upland birds, which is where eagles, turkey vultures, and other raptors come in contact with it.
@Nate: Also anytime someone shoots larger game (deer, elk, etc.), except in California, where it is banned, they use lead.