California Fish and Game Commission Rejects Expansion of Lead Ammunition Ban

on . Posted in California Fish and Game Commission, Latest News

Sacramento, CA–On August 6, 2009, California hunters, as well as the general scientific community, won a tremendous victory.  In a 4 to 1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) decided to reject a proposed regulation that would have expanded the lead ammunition ban within the so-called “Condor Zone” to .22 rimfire and shot for use in hunting small upland game.

The proposal came before the Commission because of a mandate contained in a settlement agreement between the Commission and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) , et al. It was advocated by so-called environmentalists who claimed the expansion of the lead ban was necessary for the survival of the California condor.

Proponents of the current lead ammunition ban expansion relied almost exclusively on a study conducted by Dr. Donald Smith and some of his graduate students from the University of California Davis. That paper is called  Ammunition is the Principal Source of Lead Accumulated by California Condors Re-Introduced to the Wild (Church Paper).  This highly suspect paper is the basis of much of the rhetoric of anti-hunting extremists who claim they have “scientific facts” on their side.  Reliance upon such data by legislative and regulatory bodies has been of great concern to legitimate hunters and sportsmen throughout California and in other states as well.  Under the settlement agreement, the Commission was required only to consider the proposed regulation, but not necessarily adopt it. Nonetheless, in the absence of iron clad rebuttals to the  pseudo-science put forth by the “environmentalist” groups that sued, the proposal would likely have passed.

The Commission had previously relied on the Church Paper in promulgating other regulations banning the use of lead ammunition in the “Condor Zone.” However, in rejecting the recent proposed expansion, the Commission expressly criticized the scientific scholarship of the Church Study, calling it “pseudo-science,” and attributed its enlightenment on the issue to the NRA’s scientific experts.  (See video, starting at 1:30:25.)

HFT will continue to combat the misguided efforts by environmental activists and researchers seeking to infringe on hunting and shooting sports regulations.  With your help, we can address more of these issues.  Please help in these efforts, which are critical in defending the status quo for hunters and recreational shooters nationwide and have resulted in the rejection of several proposed and ill-conceived bans throughout the United States.  Email us or comment to us on our website.

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