SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL SPREADS LIES TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM SUPPORTING LEAD FREE AMMO
On April 21 of this year Minnesota Rep. Kelly Morrison (D) introduced a bill to prohibit the use of lead ammunition when hunting with firearms. You can read the bill HERE. Shortly after the bill was introduced articles began popping up across the nation telling the public that this bill was pushed by anti hunting advocates and will drastically alter hunting and destroy wildlife conservation funding. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Safari Club International (SCI), a trophy hunting organization that makes it their mission to stand in the way of wildlife protection legislation across the world, is leading the fight against banning lead in ammunition. Their top concern, they claim, is that banning lead ammo will make hunting unaffordable for the average hunter, but take a look at a Cabela's catalog, one of the top shops for hunting gear, and see what types of things hunters are able to afford. The cost of non lead ammo doesn't even compare to what most hunters are buying today.
In his book Deerland: America's Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wilderness, Al Cambronne says "today's hunters spend the vast majority of their money on products that didn't even exist a generation ago. Although we somehow didn't realize we needed them, these items have suddenly become indispensable. We take them for granted and can barely remember a time when they didn't exist."
Here are some of the common things that most hunters purchase. The following prices are from Cabela's.
1. A handheld GPS device for downloading topography maps. The cost ranges from $200 - $800
2. Digital trail cams. The cost ranges from $50 - $750. Many hunters choose to have more than one for scouting several locations at once.
3. Laser rangefinders. The cost ranges from $100 - $1700. Hunters use this device for long-range shooting.
4. Riflescope. The cost ranges from $60 - $4,600. Hunters use this in place of a laser rangefinder.
5. Camo hunting clothing. The cost for pants ranges from $30 - $350, tops range from $10 - $210, masks/face coverings range from $10 - $45, and boots range from $50 - $500.
Hunters also buy things such as scent blockers to conceal their odor and scent attractants to lure in target wildlife. Add that to the ammunition and firearm or bow that is needed to hunt. A modern compound bow can cost $1000. There's also the cost of things like tree stands which range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Some hunters go the extra mile and buy land to create food plots for deer. For such a hunter there is the cost of seed, fertilizers, farm equipment, tillers, rakes, etc... and ATV's. ATV's are also often used by your average hunter even when they don't have a food plot. Cabela's shows the cost of a new ATV ranging from $3000 - $8000. Bear hunters are big users of ATV's. They also use a lot of bait. Bait can cost anywhere from under a $100 to several hundred dollars, depending how much is purchased and how often bait sites are refilled. Plus, since most hunters aren't hunting outside their back doors, all of the above gadgets and equipment get added to the cost of travel and lodging.
*Yet, they complain that non-toxic ammo is just too darned expensive for them.
Regardless of the number of gadgets hunters can afford, SCI and other hunting groups maintain that non-lead ammo is so expensive it will have a negative impact on the average hunters pocketbook, therefore, if less people are hunting because of the cost of non-toxic ammo then that will lead to less money for conservation. Field & Stream has even jumped on board objecting to the ban. They went so far as to claim "environmentalists frequently reference an inconclusive study to bolster their claim of lead's toxicity to animals." Field & Stream often contains articles objecting to a ban of lead ammunition and fishing tackle.
So let's address this in two parts.
PART ONE: is lead ammunition less expensive than non-lead ammunition?
Here is what some hunters have said about it.
Read at link - Mike McTee, compares the cost of lead ammo to non-lead ammo
His conclusion "So, will the cost of non-leaded ammo prevent people from hunting? I don't think so. If I buy the cheapest ammo for my .270 Winchester, I'll save money with lead, but if I buy anything at midrange prices, I won't notice a difference."
**Note what he has in the photo. He has a camo jacket which at Cabela's can cost anywhere from $45 - $550. Ear muffs are $25 - $300. I'm not a firearm expert so I couldn't tell you what he's holding but it doesn't look cheap.
Here is what another hunter had to say about non-lead ammo.
And from another hunter
PART TWO: Is lead toxic to animals?
The dangers of lead hunting ammunition and fishing tackle have been extensively documented.
Lead Hazards to Fish, Wildlife, and Invertebrates: A Snoptic Review (R. Eisler, 1988)
Sources and Implications of Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle on Natural Resources (B.A. Rattner, 2008)
Lead Poisoning from Ingestion of Fishing Gear: A review (T.J. Grade, 2019)
Experimental Lead Pellet Ingestion in Mourning Doves (J.H. Schulz, 2007)
Acute Lead Toxicosis in Mourning Doves (J.H. Schulz, 2006)
Bald Eagle Lead Exposure in the Upper Midwest (S.E. Warner, 2014)
Here are two hunters debating the issue on the Field & Stream comment board.