Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lead - Protect It Like Gold

All hunters recognize that our hobby is under constant attack. The source of these attacks generally come from animal worshipers and the anti-gun movement.  Some honestly believe hunters are harming wildlife and destroying nature. Even though no group contributes to wildlife conservation more than hunters and fishermen. Some honestly think that any gun is a bad gun. If we would just get rid of all the guns, the world would be a happy utopia. In the past their attacks have come under the pretense of saving animals from suffering and keeping people safe from flying bullets. Recently they have formed a new, sneakier tactic: the environmental movement.

Global warming, save the planet, and reducing pollutants are very popular topics today. We hear about them every day in the news. There is no doubt a need for us to be responsible with nature. Every outdoorsman hates pollution. Every outdoorsman wants to preserve our forests and wetlands, we have a vested interest in it. Without clean, wild land we would not have a sport. Responsible hunters support reasonable, scientific conservation, and are even willing to give up some of their hunting opportunities to further wildlife conservation. We also are smart enough to recognize when hunting is being attacked under the guise of conservation. The current target in anti-hunters sights is lead.

Lead is vitally important to both hunters and fishermen. It is a cheap effective source of ammunition and it is necessary for weighing down fishing line. Have you ever tried fishing with lead free weights? It is a nightmare! The weights simply do not work well. The last time I was in an area than required them I ended up tying a rock to my line, it simply worked better!

Hunters have a slightly better time with lead free bullets and shot. Steel shot is common now and manufactures have done a good job at making it work as best they can. It still totally sucks. We have the option of heavy-metal shot also. However, this ammo is remarkably expensive, up to five times as expensive as their lead counterparts. Lead free bullets are a viable option, but they simply do not work as well and are also much more expensive. For instance, currently the least expensive box of lead free .22lr bullets I could find cost $7.50 for a box of 50. A large box of 550 plain old .22lr with lead bullets costs $19 at my local Walmart. The lead free bullets are 5 times as much.

Recently anti-hunters have proposed that lead in bullets and shot are poisoning animals, particularly birds of prey, and people. They have little scientific for this. Hunters and gun advocates have caught on. Hornaday (one of my favorite ammunition manufacturers) has created a video series about this attack. You can view the fist installment below:

On August 3rd, 2010 environmental groups petitioned the EPA to ban all lead from ammunition. The EPA wisely rejected this petition because they do not have the authority to make such a ban. However, the environmental groups have sued the EPA hoping to force them into creating a ban on lead ammunition.

The environmentalists do not have a scientific leg to stand on. Like all hate groups, they twist science to fit their agenda. Lead is toxic. That is why it has been banned in paint, toys, and gasoline. It was also rightfully banned in shot used for waterfowl hunting. All waterfowl hunters hate steel shot, but it was a necessarily sacrifice. Lead shot was accumulating in areas with heavy waterfowl hunting and there was documented evidence of it harming the waterfowl population. The Department of Fish and Game enacted this ban, not the EPA.

Currently environmentalists are trying to say that lead bullets are harming birds of prey. The theory is that the birds are feeding off of the carcass of animals shot with lead bullets, thereby ingesting lead and becoming poisoned. This is a hard claim to swallow as the bird of prey population has been steadily growing for the past several years. The only exception to this the Condor. Condors are so rare that even one death is a big deal, so lead bullets are not used in their range. This decision has largely been supported by sportsmen.

The Condor: big, ugly, and endangered.

The other theory the environmentalists are trying to push is that eating meat shot with lead bullets can cause lead poisoning. A study of the blood of North Dakota hunters showed that eating meat shot with lead is not a risk to their health. Only one death has been attributed to ingesting meat shot with lead. That was a person who exclusively ate wild game.

No matter what scientists say or what governmental decisions are made to protect lead ammunition, environmentalists will continue to attack it. We need to stay vigilant in our fight to protect our right to hunt. Please, keep abreast of this threat. Someday we will need to protect lead like we do gold!

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