Lead ammunition is a significant cause of lead poisoning in wild birds, especially waterfowl and raptors:
- Humans face a potential risk of exposure to lead associated with eating wild game killed with lead bullets (CPW “Get the Lead Out”/CDPHE 2008).
- Lead has detrimental effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of mammals and birds.
- Eagles frequently scavenge carcasses of deer, elk and other wildlife that may harbor lead or lead fragments.
- Eagles with lead poisoning may exhibit loss of balance, gasping, tremors and impaired ability to fly.
- Emaciation follows and death can occur within 2 to 3 weeks after lead ingestion.
- Most hunters care about the health of Colorado’s eagles and other wildlife.
- Non-lead bullets are available. Remington, Barnes, Federal, Winchester, Hornady, Nosler all make non-lead ammunition.
- Non-lead bullets are “extremely effective,” “ensure the highest quality meat,” and “prevent lethal collateral damage to wildlife” (huntingwithnonlead.org).
The Audubon Colorado Council (ACC) is offering grants for chapters (such as Aiken) to design and execute non-lead ammunition projects. The Arkansas Valley Audubon Society has been promoting this cause, and would like other chapters to get involved.
Aiken is looking for a volunteer to apply for this grant, and hopefully pull together some like-minded people to take part. The grant deadline is August 21, 2018.Grant funds must be spent by Feb. 5, 2019. A 1-page report on the project will be due Feb. 26, 2019.
Contact Aiken Conservation Chair Linda Hodges if interested: (719) 425-1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Then fill out the ACC Non-lead Ammo Grant Application and return it by August 21, 2018 to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some ideas that AVAS used:
- Contact a local shooting supply store and order 30.06 solid copper rifle bullets for them to stock in their store. This caliber will accommodate most big game hunters. Federal makes 30.06 solid copper rifle bullets for about $30/box.
- Hand out vouchers (sample voucher) and lead fact sheets or make them available at nature centers, shooting ranges, community events, hunter education classes, CPW offices (Offer vouchers to CPW staff; they’ll then be likely to mention non-lead to hunters), etc.
- Hunters can redeem the voucher for a free box of copper bullets with a valid Colorado hunting license. They can also pick up an evaluation (sample evaluation) at the same time. (They can return their evaluations to the store where you can pick them up or you can provide a stamped return envelope).
- Notify your local newspaper about the non-lead campaign; emphasize the impact lead ammunition has on the health of both humans and wildlife, especially eagles.