Hershy and I have been MIA for a while as he is out fishing and it is been a busy week out of the office for me too. It has also been a busy week for the hunting and shooting sports industry. A few days ago, the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarians, Project Gutpile and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a petition with the EPA to discontinue the use of all lead projectiles and fishing tackle citing the Toxic Substances Control Act. In talking with my good friend with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Rick Patterson, Director for SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammo Manufacturers Institute), it is this particular Congressional Act they are watching very closely.
The petition states that “All hunting and fishing gear containing lead could economically be replaced with effective, nontoxic alternatives, thus making a strong argument for EPA regulatory action.” I think the key word here is “economically” as the last time I looked…most non-lead shot and bullets cost more than 2x the rate of lead counterparts.
At the same time, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a white paper on their position on lead. This was interesting because the group, representing many western fish and wildlife agencies, did conclude that lead has shown toxic effects to some species of wildlife and that one of several key recommendations would be to work with the ammunition manufacturing industry and review incentives that would help them pioneer additional non lead alternatives. Most importantly, the paper concluded the lack of key SCIENTIFIC evidence to warrant banning lead bullets and shot at this time and that more research was needed.
As hunters, we need to monitor this issue closely. If proven detrimental to wildlife on a large scale from our actions, we should lead the charge to switch over to other materials. However, if no scientific proof exists that suggests lead shot and bullets from hunters is causing large scale negative impacts, then we should be very cautious of any national movement that could have severe consequences to conservation in the United States.
Get Em’ Out There