Buck in woods looking at camera broadside

It’s that time of year. Duane and I are here to remind you about the impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife.

I’ve implored you to take the advice of my grandmother and not be an old lady. Duane has showed you how to get ready for the upcoming season. He has provided you with evidence and his experience using non-toxic ammunition. And we have shared the stories of wildlife exposed to lead in PA.

You may not think your one lead bullet used in rifle season makes a difference but multiple that by 200,000+. Over 220,000 deer were harvested in the 2021-22 rifle season in Pennsylvania. That’s over 220,000 gut piles on the landscape. A smorgasbord for scavengers of all shapes and sizes. 

The Wildlife Society, the international professional organization for wildlife biologists, recently updated their position statement on the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. The part that resonates with me the most is to “Recognize that given the well-established lethal and sublethal effects of lead in wildlife, conclusive population-level impacts need not be the threshold required to implement policies and practices designed to reduce lead exposure in wildlife from hunting and angling.”

More often than not, we act too late. Why must we wait for catastrophe? 

Finding conclusive evidence of anything in complex, often poorly understood natural systems is nearly impossible. Instead, we should be instituting elements of the precautionary principle by “taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty; shifting the burden of proof to the proponents of an activity; exploring a wide range of alternatives to possibly harmful actions; and increasing public participation in decision making.”

Change is hard especially when consequences are not immediate or directly felt. It’s easy to remember to use a potholder to grab a dish from the oven. Not so easy for us to remember to change the batteries or replace faulty smoke detectors even though the outcome could be dire. 

Status quo is where we feel the most comfortable. But it’s not necessarily the best place to live. Apathy can be a prison. Nothing changes if nothing changes. 

I’ll leave you with this video from PennState Extension. Do you know the final destination of your lead ammo?

-Jeannine Fleegle
Wildlife Biologist
PA Game Commission

Please follow and share:
Visit Us
Follow Me