Across the country anti-lead ammunition and anti-hunting groups have lobbied Fish and Game commissions, federal and state legislatures, and federal and state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition based upon claims that scavenging wildlife consume lead projectiles left in the carcasses and/or gut piles of game left in the field by hunters.
By and large these proposals have been rejected. But in the wake of the adoption of a statewide ban on the use of lead ammunition for hunting in California there have been renewed and concerted effort to ban the use of lead ammunition nationally.
There is substantial evidence that the groups behind the proposed ban on the use of traditional ammunition have based their claims on faulty scientific studies, in many cases motivated by an underlying anti-hunting agenda. Many of the research papers used by anti-lead ammunition proponents to support lead ammunition bans have consistently been critiqued for questionable scientific methodology. These researchers have used selectively incorporated (cherry-picked) scientific data to support their conclusions, while consistently ignoring abndant alternative sources of lead found in the environment that are likely the actual cause of lead poisoning in some wildlife.
In distorting the facts regarding the use of lead ammunition, activists undermine public interests, threaten hunters’ and recreational shooters’ rights, stifle important conservationist efforts and, ironically, threaten the fragile California condor population and other natural wildlife resources that they purport to champion.
In 2007, proponents of one of the nation’s first lead ammunition bans, California Assembly Bill (AB) 821, claimed that California condors were being poisoned by consuming hunters’ lead ammunition. They promised that if hunters stopped using lead ammunition in the condor range, the lead poisoning would cease. The California Fish and Game Commission did not accept these claims. So the proponents leap-frogged the Commission’s scientific review process and instead went straight to the California Legislature where they had pre-disposed politicians willing to pass the law without giving it the scrutiny that the proposal would have received had it gone through the usual process with the Fish and Game Commission. The Legislature passed AB 821, banning the use of lead ammunition in the Condor range.
Despite California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s records showing a 99% compliance rate by hunters with the AB 821 lead ammunition ban, a comparison of pre-ban and post-ban blood-lead data from condors in the “condor range” indicates that the incidence of lead exposure and poisoning in condors remains static, or has actually increased slightly! This failure of the lead ammunition ban has compounded the problem and left multiple condors dead. The failure of California’s lead ammunition ban to decrease lead poisoning proves that alternative sources of lead in the environment are causing lead poisoning in condors.
This reality should not be ignored because of an ill-conceived agenda to ban lead ammunition or hunting.
In response to the threats posed to hunting and recreational shooting sports, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and California Rifle a& Pistol Association (CRPA) took the initial lead and engaged the expertise of the environmental and civil rights law firm of Michel & Associates, P.C., (a firm that represents many of the coalition members discussed below) along with reputable scientists, experts, consultants and volunteers to defend lead ammunition and top preserve our traditional hunting heritage. Since 2003, these professionals have engaged in the extended process of investigating, procuring and analyzing tens of thousands of documents from public records requests concerning the California Condor, Bald and Golden eagles, Mourning Dove and other wildlife. Most importantly, the documents reviewed included some of the researchers’ “original data” (to the extent they agree to produce it. Many refuse to) and internal documents not previously obtained or reviewed by independent analysts or the public at large. The investigation uncovered substantial evidence that the groups behind the assault on traditional ammunition have based their efforts on faulty science, as a result of researchers using questionable scientific methodologies, sampling protocols, and data to advance an anti-lead ammunition or anti-hunting agenda.
As the problems with the “science” being used to justify lead ammunition bans became more obvious to those individuals and groups examining the methodology and raw data being used to draw conclusions, numerous individuals and interest groups became involved in helping gather and in supplying information about the lead ammunition debate. What was initially an informal group information gathering effort grew into a more formal coalition of like-minded stakeholder groups opposing lead ammunition bans and effort to restrict hunting. A central repository for sharing the information gathered by these groups became critical, and in 2011 HuntForTruth.org was launched as a clearinghouse for sharing collected information.
As the effort continued to grow and additional stakeholders and supporters joined the coalition, the interest, involvement, and support of all of the old and new coalition partners lead to the founding of the Hunt For Truth Association, a non-profit California corporation, in 2013. Since its founding, the Hunt For Truth Association has continued to work to debunk the MYTHS and misinformation about lead ammunition and explains the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that HFTA has gathered through its investigative efforts, which refute the theory that lead ammunition is the source poisoning of WILDLIFE. Furthermore, by EXPOSING THE TRUTH behind the campaign to “Get the Lead Out,” HFTA reveals the lead ammunition ban proponents’ concealed intentions and ideologically biased agenda dependent upon faulty science.
The research and information presented by the Hunt For Truth Association through HuntForTruth.org has raised serious questions about the purported causal-link between traditional ammunition and lead poisoning and/or mortality in California condors and other wildlife. Many groups and individuals now support the Hunt For Truth Association.
HFTA’s efforts are supported by numerous different stakeholders and pro-hunters’ rights groups and by numerous interested individuals. Independently, and through the efforts of the HFTA, wildlife and natural resource conservation groups within the hunting and shooting sport industry continue to review various regulatory threats to traditional hunting and recreational shooting. The HFTA coalition’s efforts have now expanded to oppose the “rewilding” effort of radical animal rights groups who want to abandon the historical North American model of game management becuase they believe hunting should be banned and predator specie populations like wolves, grizzle bears, mountain lions, and even rural and suburban coyotes should be allowed to explode as a way to keep the size of game herds like elk, deer, and antelope in check without hunting.
The Hunt For Truth Association hopes to educate the public about the LEGALramifications of the lead ammunition ban and predator reintroduction campaigns, and to keep people current with the latest NEWS on what is occurring scientifically and politically in the ongoing debate regarding lead ammunition and hunting and natural resource conservation policy. Where the science unquestionably supports wise conservation management decisions, HFTA supports wildlife managers in their efforts to conserve our natural wildlife resources. But, when the anti-lead ammunition advocates offer ideologically biased, distorted and unsupportable information and/or faulty science to impose regulations that do not implement sound wildlife conservation measures, HFTA will work to expose such agendas and disseminate the truth.
The HFTA is governed by an independent Board of Directors and is led by its Executive Director Mr. David Halbrook. David is formerly the Regional Director with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and is also a Hunter Education Instructor for the California Department of Fish and Game. He was born and raised in Southern California. He has extensive firearm expertise, and he loves hunting and the outdoors. He was “raised” behind the counters, lathes, and reloading benches of Halbrook’s Gun Room in Fontana, a local gun shop owned by his extended family since the early 1970’s. He took this knowledge to the field, and has developed an intense love of nature, conservation and hunting. Throughout his lifetime Dave has honed his firearms and ammunition expertise to the highest level. He is very familiar with ammunition ballistics, and is often called upon to work up cartridge loads for industry leaders, private individuals or big game hunters who are searching for “the very best” ammunition. He is meticulous as he tests each custom load; frequenting the range with his chronograph, load data log and other tools as he tests the accuracy versus velocity until the perfect load is achieved.
Several media outlets have mischaracterized HuntForTruth.org and the Hunt For Truth Association as NRA controlled entities. While HFTA works with various NRA representatives, along with representatives from dozens of other groups, HFTA, to reiterate, has its own Board of Directors and Executive Director. The HFTA Executive Director and Board dictates HFTA's actions and policies. We do hope that future reporters discussing the HFTA will be more careful and accurate in their reporting.
Some HFTA Coalition Stakeholders
Boone & Crockett Club * Campfire Club of America * Catch a Dream Foundation *
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation * Conservation Force * Delta Waterfowl * Ducks
Unlimited * Masters of Foxhounds Foundation * Mule Deer Foundation * National Rifle
Association * National Shooting Sports Foundation * National Trappers Association *
National Wild Turkey Federation * North American Bear Foundation * Pope & Young
Club * Quality Deer Management Association * Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation * Ruffed
Grouse Society * Safari Club International * U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance * Whitetails
Unlimited * Wild Sheep Foundation * Wildlife Management Institute * Wildlife Forever
Coalition Opposition Letter to California Legislature: