The hunting community is always trying to focus on the issues that harm our environment and cause various species to be erased from this planet. In fact, they are the largest contributors to everything from the EPA to local and community parks, etc. There are, however, those that give the hunting community a bad name at times, and the truly dedicated outdoorsman/woman wish to alert one and all that the use of lead-based ammo is not acceptable by the majority.
For those who are unaware, statistics and studies have proven that in America over ten million birds and other animals die each year from lead poisoning. This is a list that is beyond depressing, especially when considering that among the species being effected are Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Loons, Trumpeter Swans, and more. What happens is that these birds, as they scavenge on the carcasses of other animals left behind, eat lead bullet fragments that have been used to kill the prey. Or, they pick up spent lead shot pellets or lost weights used in fishing, thinking they’re food. Depending on the amount digested, a bird can expire in only days…although, some are left alive suffering horrendous effects.
It is important to note that the United States military is on a path to ‘go green.’ The Army actually came up with a new bullet that has proven to be just as effective for taking down America’s enemies as the old ammo, but they are lead-free, which will be far cleaner for the Earth. In other words, an ‘industry’ that is all about protecting human lives, wants to also protect the lives of our animals and our habitats.
By using ‘green ammunition,’ not only will this save various species but it also cuts soil contamination that occurs every day because of slugs being fired at various practice ranges. With the new ammo, there is a less toxic tungsten composite that has replaced the lead, which provides our troops with the ability to still train for combat while protecting our environment all at the same time.
Used in the M-16 rifle, which is the weapon that’s issued to every Army infantry soldier, this ‘green’ ammo is estimated to be used in over 200 million rounds shot every year. Researcher scientists, the Army – all studied a variety of metal combinations in order to provide the same density, ballistic quality, etc. for our soldiers before settling on the tungsten composite slug that’s still encased in copper casing. And by manufacturing this new ‘green’ ammo, millions of dollars have been saved on the clean-up of the contaminated lands.
This all began back in 1997, when the EPA ordered the Massachusetts Military Reservation to halt all live-fire training after lead and toxin contamination was found in the underground water supply of Cape Cod. From there, the military walked the path of environmental protection.
‘Audubon Magazine’, however, has seen that despite all of this work and the variety of ‘green’ alternatives out there, there are still some American sportsmen/women who still choose to utilize lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Because of this, many species are paying a horrific price.
The majority of hunters agree with the military, government and EPA efforts because they understand that banning lead poses no threat to either the hunting or fishing community. They absolutely support the need to erase lead ammunition from the environment, because this is one issue that is certainly not an anti-hunting issue – it’s only about the danger of lead.
A recent study showed that Turkey Vultures were being exposed to lead a great deal during deer hunting season. Seeing as that they are scavengers, they’re at a high-risk for lead poisoning.
The myth that lead-free ammunition doesn’t perform as well has been proven to be false; lead-free ammo is just as good. And even wildlife that isn’t as high-risk as, say, the scavengers of the world, are still dealing with a wide range of health effects; from loss of coordination to nerve damage that sends these birds into power lines to acute poisoning and death.
In other words, let us all be aware while hunting for the elusive whitetail, that the deer is the only creature brought down by the shot.
Source: Sportsmans Life