Letters to the Editor

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HUNTING: Lead ban would have little effect

Letter by Curtis B. Smith, Tacoma on March 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm | 1 Comment »
March 26, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: “Groups want ban on lead” (TNT, 3-26).

The article fails to mention that a total ban on lead ammunition would have no effect on swan mortality in Whatcom County. Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting since 1991.

Pre-ban deposits are the problem. Continuous use of the same spots by generations of waterfowl hunters resulted in heavy concentrations of lead shot where waterfowl feed. The nationwide use of nontoxic shot for waterfowl hunting has dramatically reduced lead poisoning in these birds.

Other forms of hunting disburse shot or bullets far more widely, thus minimizing the chance of ingestion. Target ranges are not generally foraging habitat for birds. Thus a blanket ban on the use of lead in all ammunition would have little effect on avian lead poisoning. Mitigation efforts for old hot spots and restrictions in areas of particular concern like condor habitat are the answer.

Cats and collisions with buildings and power lines are the leading causes of accidental anthropogenic (caused by man) avian mortality, accounting for 73.5 percent of the total, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s 2005 study. No mention of lead was made in the study.


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