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      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE read Terms of Service, not just checking it off. This is covered there: Add more info than just "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering function, some Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Also please do not use a business name as your User Name. Thank you.
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Kemo Sabe

HUGE victory for keeping lead

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Larry Brown

There's a whole lot of emotion involved when someone finds a sick or dead eagle, regardless of why the eagle is sick or dead.  And it's easy to overlook the obvious:  One reason there are more reports of sick or dead eagles is that there are a lot more of them around than there used to be.

We also tend to forget--except maybe those of us who have either less hair or more grey on top than we used to--that whitetail deer have also made a miraculous recovery as a species.  (Iowa didn't even have a deer season when I was a kid.  100,000+ per year now taken.)  Estimate of 300,000 in the entire country in 1930; 30 million today.  Thus, more deer hunters.  Result:  More deer being shot, more wounded deer going off to die (and more careless hunters leaving gut piles).  Far greater opportunities for more eagles to ingest lead.

And again, the wildlife management establishment is also engaging in dishonesty when a) they basically blow off the impact of a lead ban on hunters who use shotguns that cannot handle steel; and b) when they go after lead shot in the uplands, which does not appear to be much of a factor at all in eagle deaths, while ignoring lead bullets.  And, as far as I know, switching from lead to nontox bullets--unlike with shotguns--won't turn hundreds of thousands of guns into museum pieces.

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Brad Eden

A complete lead ban for ammo is inevitable. It's a matter of how much people want to kick and scream about it or whether they want to get on the bandwagon for the reasons RI has illustrated. JMO

As far as human consumption of lead in wild game. I know studies have shown there is lead fragments in harvested deer. Has there been any studies of people or families that eat deer that have been killed with lead bullets? My family has been eating 1-2 deer a year mostly killed with a rifle for well over 20 years. It would be interesting and possibly disheartening to see if any if us have high lead in our bodies because of that.

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Rhode Island
As far as human consumption of lead in wild game. I know studies have shown there is lead fragments in harvested deer. Has there been any studies of people or families that eat deer that have been killed with lead bullets? My family has been eating 1-2 deer a year mostly killed with a rifle for well over 20 years. It would be interesting and possibly disheartening to see if any if us have high lead in our bodies because of that.

The short answer is yes, and the short story is that if you eat venison shot with lead you're likely to have elevated lead levels in your body relative to other people in your community who do not eat venison shot with lead.  BUT, its probably not a high enough uptick in your blood lead levels to be overly concerned about.

There is an often cited study (I believe by the CDC; its cited in the paper I linked in the second of those two earlier threads) that surveyed hunters and non-hunters in North Dakota and found that hunters who reported eating big game shot with lead had significantly higher blood lead levels than non-hunters.  People in North Dakota have pretty low blood lead levels in general because of lower background lead concentrations in NoDak.  So, the lead concentrations of the study participants in general were below the national average and well below levels that were any cause for concern.

The results from this study are routinely spun in a less-than-honest way by the "traditional ammo" proponents (NRA, NSSF, etc).  They claim the study "proved" that consuming game shot with lead poses no threat, based on the fact that hunters in NoDak had lead levels below the national average.  They conveniently ignore the fact that consuming lead shot game was in fact correlated with higher blood lead levels; if you eat venison shot with lead, and your neighbor does not, you will have higher lead than he/she does.  

Its also important to realize that even high-end lead bullets have really poor weight retention rates (up to 20-30 % of bullet mass is lost due to fragmentation) and these fragments can travel a large distance from the bullet path.  So even when a deer is shot perfectly with a high-quality bullet, there's likely to be lead fragments in the meat.  

So its probably safe to say that eating venison shot with lead is not a HUGE risk to you or your family.  But now a days with there is a good availability of copper bullets that are comparable in price to lead alternatives, can be shot safely through all firearms, and have as good if not better performance than lead.  Between the risk of lead exposure to ourselves and our families, and the very real and negative impact lead has on our image as hunters and conservationists, and I am really not sure why anyone would chose to continue shooting lead for big game.  Unless of course you have an odd caliber rifle with no copper rounds available, but those are going to be the minority.  

RI

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Rhode Island

And again, the wildlife management establishment is also engaging in dishonesty when a) they basically blow off the impact of a lead ban on hunters who use shotguns that cannot handle steel; and b) when they go after lead shot in the uplands, which does not appear to be much of a factor at all in eagle deaths, while ignoring lead bullets.  And, as far as I know, switching from lead to nontox bullets--unlike with shotguns--won't turn hundreds of thousands of guns into museum pieces.

"Wildlife Management Establishment" ???  I am not sure what that means, but I still think you make a much bigger issue of this than it really is, and based on a fairly limited number (2) of experiences.  

Regardless, a little bit of non-confrontational eduction on the part of hunters could go a long way towards taking care of this problem.  Rather than placing the burden on someone else to somehow anticipate and explain our concerns, why don't we as hunters take the initiative.  Why should we expect people who are not upland hunters to somehow inherently know that a Browning-made Belgiums cannot shoot steel?  But instead what happens is we tend to fire off a bunch of (often condescending) rhetoric, and that is probably in general counter-productive.  

RI

p.s. I care about turkey vultures.  I imagine many others do too.

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flopez
The problem here, as I see it, is a very small minority who want to stop hunting.  They will use any means to accomplish, including false information.  

The problem as I see it is that every time one of these dead or dieing eagles turns up, it pushes more non-hunters away from hunting and swells the anti-hunting ranks ever more.  And we as a sporting community are doing absolutely nothing proactive to keep that from happening, and I would go so far to say that the apathetic attitude expressed by some (see earlier comments in this thread) about dead and dieing wildlife is counter to our long-term image as hunter conservationists.  I've said it before and I will continue to advocate it.  We as hunters should be at the forefront of advocating and implementing voluntary use of non-toxic alternatives whenever possible.  

I would also say that false information on this issue is hardly a monopoly of the anti-hunting crowd.  I have never read a press release or article on this issue from, for example, the NRA or the NSSA, that did not contain some piece of either misleading or flat incorrect information.

While I do not disagree with you, don't you think that every time one of these birds shows up the event is excessively publicized?  What is the actual rate of occurrence?  What is the level of acceptable loss?  I think that's pretty important.  When you compare the loss of wildlife due to other man made sources to that of lead poisoning I think you'll find that lead poisoning isn't the number one factor.

If these people leading the charge for a lead ban had the actual welfare of animals in mind, their crusade would fall flat on its face.  How many people would stop shipping because of the danger to a whale collision?  How about those wind farms?  Remember, they seem to believe that the loss of even one bird is excessive.

I guess my point here is that while I believe that we should be trying to minimize our footprint on the environment as a society, there has to be some acceptable level of intrusion.

Frank

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Kemo Sabe
he problem as I see it is that every time one of these dead or dieing eagles turns up, it pushes more non-hunters away from hunting and swells the anti-hunting ranks ever more.

Absolutely, YES.

The fuse is lite and burning on banning  lead in the uplands. Not sure how fast it's burning, but it never the less is burning.

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flopez
he problem as I see it is that every time one of these dead or dieing eagles turns up, it pushes more non-hunters away from hunting and swells the anti-hunting ranks ever more.

Absolutely, YES.

The fuse is lite and burning on banning  lead in the uplands. Not sure how fast it's burning, but it never the less is burning.

All those things are certainly true.  But, the question remains, do we eliminate all lead from the planet (a fairly daunting task) or is there some level of acceptable losses?  And, if there is some level of acceptable loss, are we exceeding those losses today?

Frank

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Rhode Island

The problem here, as I see it, is a very small minority who want to stop hunting.  They will use any means to accomplish, including false information.  

The problem as I see it is that every time one of these dead or dieing eagles turns up, it pushes more non-hunters away from hunting and swells the anti-hunting ranks ever more.  And we as a sporting community are doing absolutely nothing proactive to keep that from happening, and I would go so far to say that the apathetic attitude expressed by some (see earlier comments in this thread) about dead and dieing wildlife is counter to our long-term image as hunter conservationists.  I've said it before and I will continue to advocate it.  We as hunters should be at the forefront of advocating and implementing voluntary use of non-toxic alternatives whenever possible.  

I would also say that false information on this issue is hardly a monopoly of the anti-hunting crowd.  I have never read a press release or article on this issue from, for example, the NRA or the NSSA, that did not contain some piece of either misleading or flat incorrect information.

While I do not disagree with you, don't you think that every time one of these birds shows up the event is excessively publicized?  What is the actual rate of occurrence?  What is the level of acceptable loss?  I think that's pretty important.  When you compare the loss of wildlife due to other man made sources to that of lead poisoning I think you'll find that lead poisoning isn't the number one factor.

If these people leading the charge for a lead ban had the actual welfare of animals in mind, their crusade would fall flat on its face.  How many people would stop shipping because of the danger to a whale collision?  How about those wind farms?  Remember, they seem to believe that the loss of even one bird is excessive.

I guess my point here is that while I believe that we should be trying to minimize our footprint on the environment as a society, there has to be some acceptable level of intrusion.

Frank

I imagine many (most?) eagles that die of lead poisoning do not get reported, because they are never found.  Certainly there are other scavenging birds too that die and are not found.  Maybe the specific media coverage of any given event is a bit over-zealous, but if an eagle dies and gets reported I would not call that excessive, just the reporting of fact.  

I don't think anyone is arguing lead is the primary cause of death for wildlife, although for bald eagles I wouldn't be surprised if it was in the top 3.  The key point here is that it is an entirely PREVENTABLE source of death.  We can't ship goods overseas without occasionally hitting a whale.  We can't continue to drive cars or fly planes without occasionally striking birds.  We can't build powerlines that won't occasionally electrocute eagles.  But we CAN hunt deer, quite effectively, without using lead.  So when we talk about what does and does not constitute an "acceptable" loss, I think the degree to which the loss is preventable has to be part of that equation.  When losses are easily preventable I would say they become far less acceptable by default.

I also think its a bit presumptive to assume that anyone who opposes lead ammunition ("these people", as you put it) doesn't care about the welfare of wildlife.  I have met the animal rehabilitators that treated the eagle in the article I linked at the start of the thread.  In fact we had a good discussion about the issue of lead poisoning in eagles (and loons) and I gave them the hunter's perspective, including the current limitations to giving up lead in the uplands if you hunt with old firearms.  I can say with 100% confidence though that "these people" care quite deeply about the welfare of the animals.  

If we as hunters were to lead a voluntary switch to copper bullets for big game, as a start, it would dramatically decrease the number of cases of dead and dying eagles that hit the news stand.  And, we could point to a very tangible, very proactive thing we are doing as a community as a fix to the problem.  Instead the best we have now are denial and a bunch of rather lame (IMO) arguments for why its not really a problem.

RI

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flopez

I also think its a bit presumptive to assume that anyone who opposes lead ammunition ("these people", as you put it) doesn't care about the welfare of wildlife.  I have met the animal rehabilitators that treated the eagle in the article I linked at the start of the thread.  In fact we had a good discussion about the issue of lead poisoning in eagles (and loons) and I gave them the hunter's perspective, including the current limitations to giving up lead in the uplands if you hunt with old firearms.  I can say with 100% confidence though that "these people" care quite deeply about the welfare of the animals.
 

On that level, I'd expect that.  However, like the man said, follow the money.

Frank

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birdguy

RI - are you familiar with a study done on wild chukar and their ingestion of spent lead during normal feeding activities?  IIRC, even chukar in their natural habitat were vulnerable to ingesting lead (albeit in much smaller quantities as compared to waterfowl).  I'll look for that link.

The comment about the fuse being lit on the eventuality of a lead ban for hunting was spot-on - at some point in my hunting lifetime for sure.  That will stink for the many hunters that enjoy cheap, effective ammo and its use in both vintage and modern shotguns, but it has become almost impossible to defend the practice of continuing to use it.  Hunting has experienced several about-faces in the name of better conservation practices over the years.  There were probably some hard feelings when punt guns, nets, and 8 gauges were initially banned, yet we adapted and moved on.  After watching Brokaw's version of opening day, an extra $50 in ammo for a week seems quite insignificant.   ???  

But really, Rio is making bismuth look more affordable than ever.  Maybe rallying around companies that produce affordable non-tox  ammo including steel and other alternatives will make the transition easier for all of us.

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Rhode Island

Frank,

Death from lead poisoning due to hunting is the issue at hand here.  No one here is talking about entirely removing lead in its elemental form from the planet.  The key point is the lead poisoning that we as hunters are directly responsible for, which tarnishes our reputations as conservationists and is counterproductive to the future of our sport.  

I think a lot of people are doing a lot of things in a lot of different ways to change the world for the better of wildlife, so I don't buy the argument that this is the only issue people care about.  

I'd also like to think that most hunters already try to do everything they can to recover crippled game.  We have laws against wanton waste, we emphasize ethics in our hunter safety courses, etc.  Big game hunters that hunt with lead could remove their gut piles from the field, which is probably a bigger issue than unrecovered animals.  The practice of killing "varmits" and leaving them where they lay is probably also a contributor.  So, sure there are ways to improve in other realms, but I really don't see them as a more practical solution than just choosing to buy a different box of ammo off the shelf.

Personally I don't see the anti-hunting boogeyman as a justification for doing nothing.

RI

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Rhode Island

RI - are you familiar with a study done on wild chukar and their ingestion of spent lead during normal feeding activities?  IIRC, even chukar in their natural habitat were vulnerable to ingesting lead (albeit in much smaller quantities as compared to waterfowl).  I'll look for that link.

The comment about the fuse being lit on the eventuality of a lead ban for hunting was spot-on - at some point in my hunting lifetime for sure.  That will stink for the many hunters that enjoy cheap, effective ammo and its use in both vintage and modern shotguns, but it has become almost impossible to defend the practice of continuing to use it.  Hunting has experienced several about-faces in the name of better conservation practices over the years.  There were probably some hard feelings when punt guns, nets, and 8 gauges were initially banned, yet we adapted and moved on.  After watching Brokaw's version of opening day, an extra $50 in ammo for a week seems quite insignificant.   ???  

But really, Rio is making bismuth look more affordable than ever.  Maybe rallying around companies that produce affordable non-tox  ammo including steel and other alternatives will make the transition easier for all of us.

There's a handful of chukar studies.  If you check out the paper linked in the first post of Thread 2 that I linked to earlier, I am sure they cite them.

I agree with letting the ammo makers know there is interest and demand for better non-toxic alternatives.  Another thing I've done personally, in addition to making a complete switch to copper for big game, is to buy an upland gun that can shoot steel.  I did this partially so that I can jump shoot ducks while grouse hunting, and also to have a rainy day gun.  But it also means that I can switch off between the CZ and my older double that I won't shoot steel through.  This way even though I haven't completely eliminated my use of lead for bird hunting, I've at least reduced it.  I realize not everyone is willing or able to do that, but its worked for me personally until steel alternatives become more palatable.

RI

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rlambour
I hope this question doesn't take this interesting topic off track, but does anyone know whether copper or nickel plated lead shot is less harmful to wildlife than regular unplated lead shot?  It seems like lead shot that's plated in nickel or copper would be more likely to pass through the digestive system of an animal or bird without exposing the animal or bird to the lead.  All of the lead bird shot that I use for pheasants is plated.  I'd be interested in any studies on this.

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caleb

We should be at the leading edge of doing the right thing. Not the trailing edge of doing the wrong thing.

RI

Agreed.  I suspect I've bought my last box of lead pheasant loads.  Not because I have some perfectly reasoned explanation for doing so, but because this fall I found myself standing in the ammo aisle and just didn't see a good reason to buy lead.  Steel works well in my modern guns, and using it just isn't a big deal to me.

I've used some of Kent's #5 and #6 steel loads on grouse and woodcock, and they work just fine too.  Really, if you were to load my gun without me seeing what you put in it, even if we kept that experiment up all season long, I doubt I could tell whether it was steel or lead in my gun.  Even the smaller steel shot sizes work fine now.

I'm not convinced that lead needs to be banned for everything, and I'll shoot up the lead I have left.  But I'm really not sure I'll buy any more in the future.  Lead shot isn't the worst thing in the world, but nobody can really make the case that it's totally harmless.  Given that the costs are so low for me to stop using it, I probably will.

Maybe a good comparison is to picking up your empties in the woods.  Are empty hulls a huge source of global pollution?  Of course not.  But that doesn't mean I should leave them out in the woods.  They're a piece of trash I can control, and leaving them around the countryside makes hunters look bad.  It's not that hard to pick them up and toss them in my game bag.  Same goes for lead shot.  It just isn't that hard to switch for many of us, maybe even the vast majority of hunters.

Of course we can bang the "old guns won't shoot steel" drum all day, because that's the only real impact of the switch.  A small number of old guns will have to use relatively expensive ammo.  But do we really want to burn whatever goodwill we have left with the public in order to avoid buying Bismuth or Nice Shot for classic guns?  Is that really a good tradeoff?  I'm inclined to think it's not, and that doing so sacrifices the future for the past.

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Tim Frazier

It's pretty odd when enviromentalist get all worked up about lead in projectiles when Tetraethyllead is so much more absorbable and still so prevelent in the enviroment.

I've heard that often it's found that the highest led levels found at shooting ranges are found in the ditch out by the road.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp13.pdf

Skip right to 1.2 for a little light reading.

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