Counterpoint: Hunters shouldn't dig in on lead shot

  • Article by: CARROL HENDERSON
  • Updated: November 24, 2013 - 4:57 PM

The fact is, it’s harmful. If we insist on defending it, our other efforts on conservation will be undermined.

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tinosaNov. 24, 13 5:32 PM

Excuse me but the higher than normal lead levels sound like a theory at this point. Were any lead bullet fragments recovered to prove that the eagles had digested them. Until you show me data such as taking a healthy eagle with a full blood base line study and then letting them eat gut piles that have bullet fragments in them to watch the lead levels increase. Most deer that are killed by rifle have the bullet go in one side and out the other. When they hit the shoulder or thigh, they usually become imbedded in the opposite leg. So right now all you have is a theory. More eagles are killed each year by your green energy wind turbines. Why aren’t you calling for their removal?

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jerdixonNov. 24, 13 5:50 PM

Hi from Dixon Lake, Our neigbor found an adult eagle last year sick on his land. The bird was so sick it couldn't complain when our neighbor picked it up, put in a carrier, then transported it to the Raptor center. Vets had to put it down. The bird had ingested lead from a gut pile and was beyond help. Very sad to see.

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decembersueNov. 24, 13 5:53 PM

The author of this article seems to be missing the point. The opposition to banning lead shot isn't because of ignorance of its well-documented environmental toll; no, it's just another facet of the modern extreme right, which is both anti-conservation and pro-gun at all costs. Since bullets are gun-related, the orthodoxy says they cannot be regulated, no matter what the cost. Hunters should divorce themselves from these extremists as soon as possible. As American culture drifts further away from hunting, and further away from the right (the younger generation's political leanings are drastically more progressive), hunters might find themselves on the losing end of political shifts if they don't embrace sensible policies like this sooner than later and disentangle themselves from tea party politics.

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getcrazyNov. 24, 13 5:55 PM

"Until you show me data......More eagles are killed each year by your green energy wind turbines."---Please provide the data on wind turbines to back up your theory just as you requested data on lead. It's only fair.

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ollie3Nov. 24, 13 6:08 PM

It's amazing the lengths that some people will go to to be in favor of something, or against something, just because they're so deathly afraid of having a shared goal or two with 'bleeding hearts' or 'tree huggers'...seriously, "traditional ammunition"? People actually have an emotional attachment with a certain kind of small metal pellet...you can't make it up.

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BigPeteNov. 24, 13 6:34 PM

tinosa, as long as you can still kill, what difference does it make?

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braxozNov. 24, 13 6:53 PM

It would be interesting to know if these studies were backed up by testing the lead levels in other scavenging species. There is an overlap of bird hunting and deer seasons - so what was the source (lead is banned for migratory waterfowl but not for upland game). If other scavengers, coyotes, wolves, etc. have elevated lead levels, then there is a case for banning or restricting lead bullets.

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ruphinaNov. 24, 13 6:55 PM

Tinoa has a point- I have shot well over 40 deer, and have left exactly one gut pile that could have even possibly had lead. Every other deer I shot, the lead was either somewhere else in the woods, well beyond the deer, or still in it. I NEVER shoot the guts, and even the one I left was due to a shattered backbone, and it is uncertain that any of the fragments in the gut were lead, it is most likely het were bone. Bill G.

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lindaspyNov. 24, 13 7:23 PM

I come from a family of hunters. I am well aware of the amount of money spent in advance of hunting seasons. Removing lead from all ammo wouldn't be a huge increase in hunting costs. If using unleaded ammo saves one animal it is worth the small cost. Anyone who discounts the danger to Eagles refuses to face reality. How many other animals are effected remain to be seen. Don't just brag about hunting, do it the safe way and save Eagles and other animals.

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ruphinaNov. 24, 13 8:45 PM

"if it saves only one" is um.. er.. simplistic at best. Is it possible that elevated lead levels come from eagles eating poisoned fish downstream from industrial factories, and the ones found, who are definitely a pre-selected set of sick eagles, are merely found in Northern Minnesota because they are weakened by the stress of migration? Why are there not a corresponding number found in southern MN where the gut piles are eminently more visible, and many of those deer are shot with totally unjacketed pure lead slugs? Was the age spread of the eagles found relative to he population or only old eagles, because I do believe that lead build up over time, and we could be finding only the ones who were about to die anyway. Define "elevated levels' of lead in the blood. Elevated over what sample? If you want us to take your "research" seriously, link the studies and the data. And a study of ONLY the sick ones turned in is dramatically flawed. Bill G.

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