On his last day in office, Obama appointee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, ordered a new ammunition ban for certain federal lands. The breadth of the ban will do away with the use of lead-based ammunition on federal lands like national parks, wildlife refuges, and any other land administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
This new ban will alter the way that hunting has been conducted on federally owned property across the United States for years since lead-based ammunition is very popular with hunters. The new ban went into effect immediately after Ashe signed it on his last day in office under the Obama Administration. Ashe advocated that the lead-based ammo hurt wildlife.
“Exposure to lead ammunition and fishing tackle has resulted in harmful effects to fish and wildlife species,” Ashe said. “According to the U.S. Geological Survey, lead poisoning is a toxicosis caused by the absorption of hazardous levels of lead in body tissues.”
“Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds,” he continued. “The Service recognized the problem of avian exposure to lead shot used for waterfowl hunting and enacted restrictions in 1991 and hunting and waterfowl populations have thrived since.”
“The use of lead ammunition continues for other forms of hunting, presenting an ongoing risk to upland or terrestrial migratory birds and other species that ingest spent shot directly from the ground or as a result of predating or scavenging carcasses that have been killed with lead ammunition and left in the field. Many states have enacted nontoxic shot and ammunition requirements to address this concern,” Ashe concluded.
Gun rights activists call the move by Ashe a political one. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has asked for Ashe to rescind the order immediately. Lawrence Keane, the group’s senior vice president, spoke out.
“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” Keane said. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen, and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this and, instead, create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”