Ammunition for sale

Once hunted to the brink of extinction, California condors are beginning to make a steady recovery. Thirty years ago there were only 20 birds in the wild. Now there are over 200. But biologists say this growing population of condors is facing a new threat. They’re being poisoned by lead bullets they sometimes ingest when eating dead animals killed by hunters. The California Legislature has approved a bill banning hunters from using lead-based ammunition. But critics, including hunting groups and the National Rifle Association, say the lead is likely coming from sources other than bullets, and that using bullets made with other metals may create more problems than it solves. We discuss the legislation, which is awaiting action by Governor Jerry Brown.

Don Saba, chemist and executive director of Sierra Bioresearch and board member of the National Rifle Association
Jennifer Fearing, chief economist and California senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States

  • Open Your Mind

    How about a bad on lead in fuel for small planes? Every day small planes fly over the Peninsula, spraying out exhaust that has lead in it. Many people are surprised to learn that fuel for small planes is NOT unleaded but that’s the fact.

    • I have never seen a condor eat a small airplane but I guess it could happen.

      • Social Justice

        Really you can’t put leaded fuel and food contamination together as a possibilities? That is more of a possibility than a high power bullet staying in the guts and not passing through. That doesn’t fit your agenda driven position? Weak, very weak.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    My brother has enthusiastically hunted for over 20 years. Good hunters clean up after themselves, but i have heard him rant many times about hunters who 1) do not kill wounded animals and 2) do not dress the dead animal and pack out the meat.

    Hunters should police themselves, and this includes leaving more lead out in the environment. I’m not allowed to leave garbage out in the environments, just because there are other sources of lead doesn’t mean that hunters should not be held accountable for not polluting our environment. steph

    • Social Justice

      i have heard him rant many times about hunters who 1) do not kill wounded animals and 2) do not dress the dead animal and pack out the meat.
      This is not hunters or sportsmen of any sort. I don’t believe one word of that statement. Not even poachers (who hunters hate too!) don’t do that it’s pointless and a waste, and not believable at all. Many times? I call bull squat.

    • Daniel Rivera

      Look it up. According to the CDFW there is a 99% compliance rate among hunters in the ban area.

  • Boris Fedorov

    Can you please include the guest that actually appeared on the program? I believe his name was Dr. Don Salvo and he is a board member of the NRA

  • Funny that this is such an issue considering that duck hunters gave up lead ammunition years ago with no real issues. The NRA insists on fighting everything gun related even when it makes perfectly good sense like universal background checks supported by 90% of Americans.

    • Social Justice

      The type of metallic lead used in lead ammunition is not nearly as soluble or bioavailable as the toxic industrial lead contained in legacy paint and gasoline. It does not present the same hazard to wildlife, and should not be subject to the same restrictions.

      Several eminent scientists have warned that the isotopic compositional analysis being used to trace the source of lead in the blood in condors is not reliable. A similar method that was used to trace the source of lead bullets found at crime scenes was found to be so unreliable that the FBI stopped using it.

      Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have repeatedly refused to release underlying data needed to scientifically evaluate the veracity of their research being used to justify AB 711.

    • bird hunter

      who told you duck hunters gave up lead ammunition??? do you hunt? I do – and no, we did not give up lead ammo in bird or duck hunting – and no, it’s not as readily available at Bass Pro, Cabela’s or any store I’ve been too… the selection is very limited and it costs significantly more….the cost difference is even greater with rifle ammo and selection is even worse… the forest service also forbids our local ranges from allowing steel ammo because steel sparks and causes fires

    • Daniel Rivera

      The problem is that the Federal government is trying to ban all NON lead ammunition as “armor piercing”. Once that is done then no one will be able to hunt in California. “No big deal” you say? Are you and all the other that want a lead ban going to contribute the $23,000,000+ hunter pay in tags, fees and licenses per year? Yeah, I thought not!

  • Social Justice

    Condors hunted ? That is a load. Google it, no reference. Never heard anyone, ever even talk about hunting this vulture. Just more spin without facts.

  • MattCA12

    Yet another mind-bogglingly stupid idea that wastes our elected officials’ time and results in no public good.

  • Levi Stroing

    Since when do us hunters leave game behind for scavengers to clean up? It is a huge disgrace and very unsportsmanlike to leave a kill behind. People that hunt this state do not do so for the trophy, they do it for food to feed their families. Game meat is more nutritious and healthy than anything farm raised.
    There are no reports of the turkey vulture being poisoned by lead in areas that are not part of the condor range. They both eat the same thing. If a condor is poisoned by hunters then all scavengers, including coyotes should show lead poisoning from ammunition. Prove that science! Oh wait, liberal arts majors hate science.
    The lead in gas does not disappear in the combustion chamber, it comes out with all the other smog byproducts. There is a reason it was removed from car gasoline. Where do you think it goes once it’s in the air? Another science problem. How long do you think it takes for the lead already in the environment to dissipate? A LONG time. No law passed is going to miraculously end lead poisoning.

  • George Pigott

    This bird can not survive on its own they are fed daily by humans.banning lead will not save them,there is already a ban on lead ammo in that area . If that is not working It makes no scene to ban the whole state. it must from another source. Bald eagles are expanding in all areas .why are they not having a lead problem.?

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor