Hunting deer with lead ammunition has the side effect of killing America’s eagles — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

Dan Ashe, a lifelong hunter, emeritus board member of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, calls for Maryland to join the movement towards responsible hunting practices. His recent article in The Baltimore Sun highlights the critical issue of lead ammunition’s harmful effects on both wildlife and public health.

For years, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has supported the phase-out of lead ammunition and tackle on national wildlife refuges (see our previous articles: [one], [two]). Ashe emphasizes this threat, noting that lead fragments from bullets contaminate the environment, poisoning scavengers like eagles and condors. Studies reveal it’s responsible for half of America’s bald and golden eagle poisonings. This threat extends to humans consuming wild game, as lead fragments can be present in the meat, posing potential health risks.

Despite readily available non-toxic alternatives and clear ethical and practical arguments for their adoption, lead ammunition remains widely used. Ashe urges Maryland to follow California’s lead by implementing a non-toxic ammunition mandate, demonstrating its success in protecting wildlife health without impacting hunting participation.

By sharing Ashe’s insights and advocating for legislative change, we aim to raise awareness and encourage responsible hunting practices that prioritize the well-being of both wildlife and humans, especially within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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