Return of Condors, End of Lead Ammo?

LeadAmmoWill lead ammunition become a thing of the past? In light of a recent survey prepared by OSU researchers and new laws in other states, hunters in Oregon could face a ban on lead ammo in the future. The survey, prepared for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, gathered input from 4,200 hunters in every geographic region of the state, and concludes that Oregon hunters are open to the idea, but may have reservations.

Similar bans in California, Utah, and Arizona have been implemented in an effort to protect endangered California condors. Research in California suggests lead poisoning from gut piles and carcasses is killing reintroduced condors. With condor reintroduction projects taking place in northern California and possibly western Idaho, it is likely condors will spread into Oregon. This and other health-related factors are enough for many to support banning the use of all lead ammunition.

Some hunters are concerned about the quality, availability, and cost of alternative ammunitions. Lead-free ammo is lighter and harder which can cause problems in trajectory and decrease range. Alternative ammunition can also be harder to find and cost twice as much. Some also argue faulty science claiming industrial lead, different than lead used in ammo, is to blame.

There are currently no proposals to ban lead ammunition in Oregon, but this could change by 2017. Whether you are pro lead or not, condors are expected to return to Oregon bringing their protected status with them.

The study has been forwarded to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Currently the executive summary has been released and precise findings will be forthcoming.

By Anthony Vitale