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Response to an E mail Concerning Lead Ammunition


Response to an E mail concerning Lead Ammunition

There are several issues contained in the body of the email and I will try to address each as follows:

1) email statement “There is still no viable alternative for rim-fire or the tube fed lever actions”.

Answer: Several manufacturers have high quality ammo for some rim-fire calibers such as 22 and 22 mag with very satisfactory grain weight, velocity and penetration capability. Further, several manufacturers have address the issue of tube-fed  (lever, bolt and pump actions) that provide a more pointed projectile than the original coper-coated type used in most of these rifles. An example would be a tube –fed 30-30 that normally used a fairly flat nosed 170 grain projectile producing about 2200 feet per second.  The new momo-bullets have pointed tips and usually perform at about 2550 feet per second and provide significant advantage over the old ones (faster, flatter and harder hitting). However, there are still some rim-fire calibers that are quite hard to get in a non-lead bullet.

2) email statement “recent news articles featuring Dr Helene VanDonnick in which she flat out states that hunter's ammo are giving eagles lead poisoning. My questions are,-where is her proof.”

Answer: Source of lead can be determined and identified as to its use such as the lead in ammo.  Lead used in ammo can be identified. Therefore, when an animal, bird, reptile is suspected of having lead poisoning, very often the lead contained in the subject is actually identified. Now with reference to proof beyond that of just knowing that lead from ammo is contained in the injured subject: If you go onto a web search engine and ask for studies regarding lead/ammo and injured animals etc you will find hundreds of references.  Within these references you will find peer reviewed research that address the proof. Further, check the information regarding the California condor and lead poison. There are now several states that have moved to non-lead use for hunts within wilderness areas or state parks. In summation re proof, there is more research regarding use and results of lead ammo than you will want to read.

3) email statement “. I see a lead ban in our near future in NS”  (I assume Edward means a ban on the use of lead ammo.)

Answer: Several years ago, ( Sept 1999 )   he federal Government placed a ban on the use of lead shot for shotgunners hunting migratory birds. It has been in place for some time but there has been no move by any province to ban lead shot for hunting upland birds. Over the last five years that Halifax Wildlife Association have been offering the Lead Exchange Program, we have emphased the voluntary nature of the program.  In fact, the last two years have focused on education of the issues and not just an exchange program. We engaged in many discussions with people from all walks of life, including non-hunters and have been appreciative of the fact that almost everyone applauds our voluntary efforts to replace lead for hunting. We engaged in the program if an effort to reduce the chances that Government might act unilaterally to implement non-lead use in Nova Scotia. It should be mentioned that situations have arisen where several major jurisdictions have gone so far as to ban the use of meat harvested using lead at food banks because of the controversy over contamination.  It was addressed in Nova Scotia and we were able to keep the program in place. Nova Scotia DNR and Government in Nova Scotia has never raised the issue of a ban on lead use for hunting.

4) email statement:   “Does the federation have a position on this issue? If so, what is it?”

Answer: Fact, lead is a poison and can negatively impact a persons’ health just by being handled. More research: find a paper on lead or just read a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) published by distributers or any department of safety.  Lead has been removed by law from paint, gas, tooth fillings, etc. This all boils down to science.  The NSFAH have a position on how they make decisions regarding the ecology, habitat, wildlife, land use etc based on the science and what it tells us. We address issues such as bear management from a scientific perspective and ask Government to resolve issues based on sustainability. The NSFAH position re use of lead in hunting is the same. NSFAH do not propose a ban on lead and do not advise Government toward that position. However, as ethical hunters who want the best for the bears, users and harvesters we take the position that it is our responsibility to inform hunters of the risks associated with lead use, to actively try and get hunters to covert to non-lead use and to educate hunters on the issues associated with lead. This position has less to do with a ban on lead use then it does on being an ethical hunter. Once you realize something you are doing may negatively impact the habitat and/or wildlife, it is incumbent on us to make a change.  We have an opportunity to do so and can get out in front of this issue and take the high moral road within our fraternity and within the community at large.

5) An additional issue not addressed in the email: Because lead is a poison the mining and manufacturer of lead products is becoming much more regulated which in turn makes the product less available and more costly. Further, large organizations are looking at moving to non-lead alternatives such as the US Military and state law enforcement such as the LAPD.  The LAPD and New York Police Departments have more officers than we have members of the Canadian military. They are scheduled to move to non-lead (Green) alternatives within the next couple of years. All the major manufactures of ammo are located in the USA and their requirements will direct the market. Leading to reduced production of lead ammo and reduced cost of non lead ammo.  As the major manufactures move to higher production of non-lead and significant reductions of lead products you will see a natural migration to the more available and less costly non-lead alternatives. The NSFAH wish to address awareness of the issues, the eventual removal of lead from the market and we wish to do so without the Government creating a ban.


 HWA have spoken to many hunters who have converted to non-lead use and have numerous reports of satisfaction of the product that include better ballistics, better and quicker kills, cleaner wound channels, less extended hemorrhaging beyond the wound channel and because of all the previous conditions a better quality of harvest.  Last, but definitely not least, is the fact that NSFAH are the promotors of moving to non-lead on a VOLUNTAIRY basis. We firmly believe that a wholesale ban on lead use for hunting would not be the best way to approach this issue. Therefore, in order to assist our hunters in making the right decision regarding lead use, we have supported the Halifax Wildlife Association in their efforts to educate hunters regarding the issues and to also assist them in moving to non-lead without significant cost or effort.