From sinkers to bullets, the push to get lead out of our sports is gaining steam.
- In states where lead sinkers have been banned, there has been little resistance to the legislation. However, the fishing community is beginning to push back on similar efforts in othe
- Legislators and environmentalists did not listen to the scientific research, which never resulted in conclusive negative wildlife population effects. Instead they continued to support the drastic move of banning lead ammunition and fishing tackle.
- Alternative metals for small split shots (1/2 ounce or less) are available but are more expensive and do not offer the same level of performance as lead.
- Wildlife management focuses on populations, not individuals. Isolated incidents concerning individuals of wildlife populations do not warrant a ban on lead ammunition and tackle.
Lead is one of the most important metals in shooting, hunting, and fishing.
From bullets to shot, sinkers to jigs, lead is widely used in our sports. But the usage of this common metal is under constant attack as used by hunters, shooters and fishermen.
In hunting and shooting, lead is no stranger to regulation. Waterfowlers have been using steel shot instead of lead since 1991, but the National Shooting Sports Foundation stresses that banning traditional ammunition should only happen with thorough scientific research that shows an adverse impact on a wildlife population, the environment, or on human health. Recent studies show that, aside from waterfowl and possibly the California condor, any negative impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife populations are unfounded.
Along with efforts to ban traditional ammo, lead fishing tackle is constantly under fire. Similarly to the NSSF’s findings, the American Sportfishing Association’s assessments on the impact of lead fishing tackle on waterfowl species (especially the common loon), are insufficient to ban use of lead weights. While non-toxic options are available, the production of non-lead fishing tackle is 10 to 20 times the expense of manufacturing lead tackle.
Efforts to ban lead in shooting, hunting, and fishing are ongoing. The Environmental Protection Agency dismissed a petition to ban lead in hunting ammunition on April 10, 2012 that was put forth by 150 organizations in 38 states. This is not the first (and most likely won’t be the last) time that the EPA has looked into getting lead out of our sports. There is a piece of legislation currently introduced in Congress that would protect ammunition and tackle from being banned. The Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act is currently looking for co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and the Senate.