Get The Lead Out

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting in the much of the world for decades, yet it still poses a risk to many species of birds. A new study takes a looks at the impact of lead from ammunition and fishing tackle on population levels of birds in the US (spoiler alert, it's not good!) and then explores ways of reducing that impact (spoiler alert: hunters can play a key role in getting the lead out of bird populations).

I've embedded the study below. It is a fascinating read!

Many thanks to Richard Sojda for bringing the study to my attention and to Susan Haig, the main author of the study for allowing me to share it on my blog.  

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  1. Thanks for getting the word out on getting the lead out, Craig. I am hardly a shotshell ballistics expert, but there has been way too much misinformation in the popular press about the efficacy of lead shot alternatives over the years. As with anything, it is always good to be objective. I assisted with a scientific study as part of my first job as a biologist back in the early 1980s [] that was published by The Wildlife Society. It was well done, I think, and such scientific research on the topic is hard to find. Although, if you do a search in Google Scholar on "waterfowl lead shot", you will find lots of good articles. And, it is not only direct mortality that is involved. E.g., lead exposure has been shown to increase the susceptibility to mallards to hunting mortality. My next statement shows my extreme bias ☺, but seems fitting in the blog: The more we can do to keep more birds around the better we serve our dogs!

  2. I'm beginning to phase lead right out of my hunting starting this season. I plan to use steel for everything. There are now lots of options for uplands loadings in non-toxic shot and the R&D that has been poured into it recently has brought some fantastic results that led can't compare with. As far as the superiority of lead over steel, In 2012 I brought loads of number 4 steel on my annual Pelee Island pheasant hunt, as well as the traditional number 6 lead upland loads. The birds shot with steel were all clean kills and after pulling off a double on 2 roosters at 50 yards in an i/c choked gun, I'm convinced steel is every bit as deadly as lead if not better.