Part of the Bay Area News Group

It’s time to BAN lead bullets throughout California & the U.S.

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, February 12th, 2009 at 6:22 am in California condors, Hunting, Lead bullets.

California condor
condor flying

Just received this information from my friend Jeff Miller, Conservation Advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco. /Gary

From Jeff:

Hunters Embrace Lead-free Ammunition Regulations in California

More New Non-toxic Bullets Available to Prevent Condor Poisonings

The California Department of Fish and Game last week reported that so far, 99 percent of hunters in California have been in compliance with new state hunting regulations requiring the use of non-lead ammunition in the range of the California condor in central and southern California. Fish and Game law enforcement announced at the Feb. 5 California Fish and Game Commission hearing that of 6,500 hunters contacted in the field since the new regulations went into effect last July, only 63 warnings and nine citations needed to be issued for illegal possession or use of lead ammunition in the condor range.

“The non-lead hunting regulations to protect condors appear thus far to be non-controversial and effective, as most California hunters seem to be doing their part to get toxic lead out of the food chain,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The California Fish and Game Commission should promptly announce a phase-in of non-lead ammunition for all hunting throughout the rest of the state to protect other wildlife poisoned by lead and to safeguard human health. Hunters can play a critical role in the recovery of the condor and also keep lead from poisoning the wild game they eat.”

The lead-free ammunition regulations are designed to reduce lead poisonings of the iconic and extremely endangered California condor. Condors, eagles, and other scavengers such as ravens, turkey vultures, and black bears can consume lead-bullet fragments and lead-shot pellets from carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

A higher percentage of hunters appear to be using non-lead ammunition in California under state regulations than the purported 70 percent of hunters in Arizona now using non-lead ammunition under that state’s voluntary program.

Non-lead bullets and shot made from copper and other materials are now widely available for big-game hunting in numerous calibers, and the shortages or prohibitive costs predicted by opponents of the regulations have not materialized.

More than 150 types and calibers of non-lead rifle and pistol bullets and non-lead shot are available, and California DFG has so far certified 17 ammunition manufacturers that provide non-lead ammunition suitable for use in the condor range.

Significantly, Winchester Ammunition last month announced the availability this year of several new lead-free bullets in .22 caliber rimfire ammunition, which are widely used for shooting small game, plinking, and target practice, and were not previously available in non-lead. Opponents of the lead ban had claimed 22 rimfire bullets would never be feasible to make. WRONG.

** A list of certified bullets, packaged ammunition and a map of the areas encompassed by the ban are available at

The California condor is one of the world’s most endangered species. At the end of 2008, 169 condors were flying free in the wild, 87 of them in California. In good news for the large birds, 2008 was the best condor breeding year in California since the reintroduction began in 1992, with nine condor pairs laying nine eggs and most hatchlings surviving.

Lead poisoning from ingesting lead fragments in carcasses has been the leading cause of death for reintroduced condors in California and Arizona. Since 1992, at least 15 condor deaths in California have been confirmed or linked to lead poisoning, and dozens more poisoned condors have required invasive, life-saving chelation therapy to “de-lead” their blood after feeding on lead-tainted carcasses. One condor died in California in 2008 of apparent lead poisoning.

Scientific studies provide overwhelming evidence that the lead poisoning condors comes from ammunition fragments in carcasses and gut piles left behind in the condor range by hunters.

In 2007, more than 45 prominent wildlife biologists signed a “Statement of Scientific Agreement” concluding that lead ammunition is the primary source of the lead that is poisoning condors.

“It is important to note that there will continue to be condor deaths from ingesting lead ammunition fragments due to non-compliance and poaching until lead ammunition is no longer used in the state,” said Miller. “The best enforcement tool will be a statewide requirement to use lead-free ammunition.”
— Jeff

I think it’s time to simply BAN the use of lead bullets in California, throughout the United States … EVERYWHERE! /Gary

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

27 Responses to “It’s time to BAN lead bullets throughout California & the U.S.”

  1. David Davis Says:

    Gary, as an avid hunter, I can tell you, hunters in California are far from embracing the overly restrictive and nonsensical lead bullet ban that was surreptitiously thrust upon us last year. This is simply another attempt to take away our hunting heritage one piece at a time. lead bullets have never been proven to be dangerous to any animal (unless they were shot with them). Further, hunters pick up their game and take it home to eat. Bullets almost always pass through large game animals that are routinely gutted in the field. I have lived and hunted in the central valley for over forty years and have never even seen a California condor here, but I must still pay more than double for my ammunition because of misguided attempts like this asinine and pointless ban. There are literally thousands of turkey vultures and raptors around here. and they eat the same things condors eat. why aren’t they dying? no one wants to see another species lost, especially the majestic California condor, but this ban is not the answer. And remember, hunters provide (through licensing fees) most if not all of the money that is used to protect the habitats of not only condors, but all animals.

  2. Clif Says:

    Have you ever considered where lead comes from? Why does it mysteriously appear on used childrens clothing? The answer is that kids play in the dirt, and lead is in the ground. Lead does not have to be mined, it is found on the ground. Steven F Austin, who helped to colonize Texas, came from a family who made their fortune on lead when his father tripped over a lead rock while walking through the woods. Do you really think a few lead bullets are going to make a difference whether or not a bird lives? Rediculous!The miners may have saved a few birds by harvesting the lead and getting it out of the woods in the first place.

  3. Christian Says:

    I’m a California hunter and hate the lead ban. There’s no conclusive scientific evidence stating that lead bullets kill condors. It’s just a falsified reason for the lefty loons in this otherwise beautiful state to control people they don’t see eye to eye with politically. They think guns, metal objects, are bad. Bullets go in guns to make them go boom. Which makes them think bullets are bad. So, they vote to hike up the price of ammo, exclude those calibers that don’t come in the “lead-free” variety and exclude those hunters who can’t afford to purchase the over priced stuff. Yeah, this is from the same state who produces protesters and govt. disapproval over CVS locking up condoms due to shop lifting. According to the idiots, it’s discriminatory to Hispanics. Well, if that’s the case, then so is the lead ammo ban. Racist CA strikes again. You know the gun laws in this state originally applied to non-whites only? It was only until the Civil Rights laws were passed that these whitebread liberals had to apply them to everyone.

  4. Gary Bogue Says:

    Deny it all you want, or keep bringing up a bunch of other stuff that isn’t relevant to use as a smoke screen. That won’t change the fact that there’s plenty of scientific evidence that lead poisoning is killing a LOT of condors. On, yeah, and there’s also a $40,000 reward for the arrest of the individual(s) who recent shot two California condors with … you guessed it … lead bullets.


    I guarantee you that 99 per cent of the hunters agree
    with you.
    Lets face it. Some species are doomed. It is just a fact of life, get over it.
    And remember, the Pittman Roberston tax money for conservation that you will lose, when you lose the hunters and ammunition sales that go with it.

  6. Mike Spies Says:

    Condors are a strawman in the hunting debate. There are a small handful fo condors in one part of southern California. Someone opines that the minute amount of lead that is fired from guns by hunters is endanegring condors, and we have the ‘strawman effect’, what might be termed a red herring.

    The strategy is this: invent a problem, get some people to agree with you that there might be a problem, involve the gullible media, and viola! there is a problem that can be used to forward your agenda.

    Condors are, unfortunately, an artifact of the Pleistocene epoch. They were scavangers who lived off the rich fields of megafauna that thrived in California previous to 10,000 years ago, and were nearly gone when the Spanish arrived in California over 200 years ago. There followed a resurgence in condors populations due to the practices of raising and slaughtering cattle for their hides and tallow. The carcasses were left to rot. a bonanza for condors, grizzly bears and other scavengers. That they have decreased in population as cattle ranching dies out in the state should come as no surprise to anyone.

    Attributing their demise to the lad in hunters ammunition is farcical in the extreme. A ‘strawman; in fact. Read, learn, and think (as a real journalist might do) before you regurgitate the stupidity of others.

  7. Gary Bogue Says:

    Mike: Someone’s gullible, all right, but it isn’t the media.

  8. Ben Says:

    Banning lead bullets dose nothing except put people out of jobs, close business, and shut down an entire sport. Banning lead is an uneconomical dissension and just plain stupid.

  9. John Says:

    I have shot a lot of animals while hunting legally. I also ate the meat and never got lead poising from that. I have hunted for more than 40 years and know that the more you restrict us the less hunters you will have. This is not about hunting it is regulateing us so you can do away with our firearms. If you like copper bullets let the military use them in war and ask the terroist if they rather be shot by copper or lead bullets.

  10. Colin Cooper Says:

    What percentage of a condor’s diet consists of shot gutpiles? How much lead is in an average gutpile? How much lead does a condor have to ingest before it is affected? You make the statement that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence” to support the argument that lead ammo is contributing to the condors decline. That may be so but if there is such evidence how come neither you or anyone else can provide answers to these elementary questions. Don’t try to blow smoke up my you know what; I want to see facts and evidence, not BS.

  11. Mark Says:

    Hunters embrace the ban is proven to be a big lie as witnessed by an approximate 25% reduction in hunters is CA. That is the real goal, outlaw hunting. The state looses the tax and fee moneys which have supplied the funds to effectively manage healty game and non game populations. The anti’s back slap each other as they destroy healty animal populations. Have you noticed the sickly deer in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties?

    Regarding lead concentration in California, the rigged study so frequently mentioned by the anti’s neglected to point out that CA has a naturally occuring background lead concentration on the order to or same as the concentration found in the animal samples. I suggest that you do some objective research on the subject.
    Why not you a nd a few of your cohorts take a sample analysis kit, and take a drive up to Almaden Quick Silver Park and see for yourself.

  12. dan Says:

    Though I have read the lead ban paperwork and understand that the lead condors ate was not actually from bullets, it doesn’t matter. it is a necessary fib to work towards other goals. Next we will be able to ban CFL bulbs based on the same work, then older car batteries, fishing weights, glass,auto wiring, etc. The end justifies the means. It is true that these bans will essentially outlaw the toyota prius as the new NMH battery actually has a significant amount of lead, but we all know the prius was just a stepping stone and we need to ban it for the sake of american manufacturers

  13. Jerry Says:

    You are a perfect example of why I left So. Ca. after living there over 38 years. California used to be a great place. I watched as our rights were taken away, one at a time, until I refused to take it any longer. I completely sold out, and took my business, jobs, tax base, (and yes), even my guns, and re-established all in the beautiful state of Texas. More are taking out of Calif. than are putting in, and it’s restrictions on everyone’s rights and life style will eventually cause it to implode. Good luck and good bye to all you tree huggers. “You’ll reap what you sow”.

  14. Colcord Says:

    Lead is not particularly harmful when swallowed in small to moderate amounts. Very little is metabolized. Inhaling vaporized heavy metals, via soldering or smoking, is much more dangerous.

    The ban on lead bullets is a ruse used by Marxists and other authoritarians to reduce the ability of the citizenry to arm and defend themselves against tyranny. Some in the ammunition business are happy to promote the ban as they foresee a potential for increased profit, and who would be surprised if there are some under the table kickbacks?

    Who is to keep the racoon out of the public trash?

    The simple fact that some well meaning folk are deceived does not make it a just or reasonable cause.

  15. Tami Says:

    kill the stupid condor!!!

  16. Ellen Paisal Says:

    Did you know that lead shot has been outlawed in TEXAS for several years? They figured it out before we did!

  17. Ron Lilly Says:

    California doesn’t need lead bullets. Arnold is going to take away the Gun Rights of the Poor and middle class People of California. Only the Rich should have the right to defend themselves! I wonder if Arnold owns a Gun? Lets give California back to Mexico, then the rich will have affordable labor. What happened in that beautiful state? Come on someday Mexico might take back California once it’s filled wit Mexicans. Gun Control Laws work. There are practically no BAYONET Murders now.

  18. Cary McDonald Says:

    Yes, ‘getting the lead out’ is important for the water fowl, fish etc. primarily as it is used IN SHOT GUNS. Don’t me misled in thinking that non-lead bullets do not injure, pre-maturely age rifle and pistol barrels that are not smooth bore. Copper is a weak substitute for lead in this regard. Gun manufacturer’s support it (they sell more guns), as does do the ‘get the gun’s out’ lobbies which feel better about hobbling anything to do with guns.
    Lead bullets and lead shot are NOT even close to being the limiting factor regarding Condors and other large birds. HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES, that EASILY electrocute birds with large wing spans are the culprit (good luck in taking THAT issue on)… as are wind turbines on migratory fly-ways. I’ve seen Ravens turned to crispy critters by power lines, which are much much smaller than Condors. But hey, ‘Save the Condors, Lose (ruin) the Guns’ has a nice wholesome (simple minded) ring to it.

  19. Casey Says:

    The Clinton administration’s EPA looked into the issue and found no cause for concern. The claim that “lead based ammunition is hazardous is in error,” EPA senior science adviser William Marcus wrote in a Dec. 25, 1999, letter.

  20. bcten22 Says:

    If hunters all did their part by shooting condors on the spot in an attempt to eradicate them all, this B.S. lead ban will go extinct with them.

  21. Dave Says:

    The same corrupt “research” that was done to trump up “global warming” was used to get this “lead ban” passed.
    Ironic how after a dozen years of “research” they banned lead in the condor zone, and then one year later claimed research proved the lead ban to be effective and tried to ban lead in the whole state. You boiled the frog too quick, and now your agenda is obvious.
    This hair-brained scheme to make the projectiles of the guns you hate so much created the necessity of the invention of lead free bullets. Now if your lies about condors hurt by eating gut-piles filled with lead fool the ignorant sheep and pass into statewide law, we will simply use the lead free ammo and continue to hunt the animals you love so much, YUM YUM..
    Also hunters bullets are designed to “pass through” the animals so that they die quickly. The bullets, no matter what they are made of, don’t end up in the gut piles that the condors eat………

  22. Rick Says:

    Ellen, Lead is not banned in Texas. There is a federal ban on lead shot used for water fowl in shotguns, this was enacted years ago. Lead bullets are legal in Texas. Get your facts straight comrade and stay in California; we don’t need your kind around here.

  23. Ken Says:

    I to have been hunting now for a little over 50 years, and eating wild game.all my life. It’s true that a bullet nearly allways passes through an animal, if not it usally just under the hide on the off side of the animal. I’ve got small box full of bullets that I have recovered from game shot with lead core bullets, same thing with a muzzle loader with lead slugs or round balls. I have got to agree that this is just another anti-hunting attack. One more lets go and get our blood checked for lead, I know I’m good I’ve talked with my doctor abuot this one I’m good how about you?

  24. Ken Says:

    I’m talking about hunting mule deer and especially elk in Colorado that are alot larger than the deer in Califorina. People this lead bullet talk in nothing but a bunch of lies and propaganda to try and hurt hunting in this country. These people that are making these claims about lead core bullets know that most people will buy into there lies because they don’t know any different. In my world going to court and lie under outh is committing purgerey.

  25. edgar Says:

    good idea:lets embrace the lead ammo ban then AFTER they ban it use the non lead ammo shoot all but two condors and leave the samn hippies guessing wtf happened!!!

  26. Scota4570 Says:

    “Lead poisoning from ingesting lead fragments in carcasses has been the leading cause of death for reintroduced condors in California and Arizona.”

    Then how come, even with the ban in place for some time, they keep getting lead poisoning? Amazing! Could it be the whole thing is a farce. Could it be that they are stupid birds that eat garbage and bits of metal. Could it be that the enviornmental zealots poisoned condors on purpose to maintain funding? I would not put it past them to do so.

    I am tired of making “reasonable” consessions to the leftists and marxists. The enviornmental movement is a thinly veiled way to get ignorant people to accept world socialism. The whole lead thing is a way to make hunting less appealing and thin the ranks. Couple these stupid laws with restricting public access to hunting and fishing and you get population of sheeple that have forgotten about the outdoors. That makes them less independant and more likley to go with the program.

    Lead is not as toxic as it is made out to be. Look it up! The original studies that started the ball rooling on the anti lead bandwagon were misrepresented. The safe levels were cut by orders of magnitude in leglislation that was drafted based on moving a decimal point and not understanding the science Look it up!!

    Have you personally known anyone who got sick from lead?

  27. Edward Says:

    We don’t embrace this lead ban. The lead ban for hunting is based on Junk Science. All it takes to forward the liberal agenda is Junk Science. This baloney with the environmentalists, along with the outrageous DMV fees, Illegal Immigration, extreme cost of building permits, required teaching of acceptance of homosexuals to our children, taxes out the ying-yang, 75 Billion dollar debt, stupid gun laws like the 50 BMG ban, so on and so on is why people are leaving California in droves. Businesses are leaving in droves, (mine just left for Colorado). When we have all left this once great state to you Loons, don’t come looking to us to bail you out. You can live in the misery you are creating.

Leave a Reply