Lead Is Back on the Menu for Those Who Hunt and Fish

Public Domain. Tami Heilemann/Department of Interior

In 1991 the Fish and Wildlife Service banned the use of lead bullets when hunting waterfowl on Federal wetlands; in 2008 lead ammunition was banned in California on lands within range of California condors. In 2011 David wrote about what happens when hunters use lead shot:

The problem occurs when hunters clean an animal in the field and leave the remains—including lead bullets—or a shot animal escapes and later dies. Carrion-feeding birds find these remains and, inadvertently, eat the lead bullets. Once consumed, the lead can lead to an inability to fly, starvation, anemia, blindness, seizures and death.

On January 19th, 2017, the Obama administration expanded the 1991 ban to all hunting on all federal lands, national parks and wildlife refuges. (Nothing like leaving it to the last minute). In one of his first acts after riding a horse to work, the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rescinded the order.

Jamie Rappaport Clarke, the CEO of Defenders of Wildlife tells the Alaska Dispatch that “the fact is that the use of lead ammunition is simply unacceptable in this day and age, when there are readily available alternatives on the market and we know the incredible harm that lead poses to people and to wildlife.”

But Secretary Zinke says the ban was anti-hunting, a step in a trend to closing off hunting on public lands. "It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite.”

The Dispatch notes that “lead from bullets used to hunt deer can end up in venison.” So guess what’s back on the menu for families that hunt what they eat.

rule on lead

The Secretary of the Interior/Public Domain