If the past is any indication, AB 711 isn’t the threat to hunting that the opposition says it is

August 19th, 2013 · by Garrison Frost

Opponents of Assembly Bill 711 are fond of saying that a law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition for hunting would end hunting in California. Well, one way to verify that claim would be to see how the practice of hunting has responded to earlier restrictions on the use of lead ammunition. A quick check shows that hunting did not end in 1991 when the federal government prohibited the use of lead shot in waterfowl hunting. And apparently the many states that have laws on the books restricting its use even further haven’t ended hunting either. But California provides an even better platform for comparison: the 2007 restriction on lead ammunition in the range of the California Condor. If the opposition’s claims were true, we would probably see a dramatic decline in hunting in that region, right? Well, turns out the opposite is true. According to statistics from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, hunting has actually increased in the Condor range since the law went into effect. In 2007, the year before the law went into effect, 26, 818 deer hunting licenses were sold in for that area. In 2012, the most recent year for which we have complete records, 27,453 were sold.

Categories: Audubon California · California Condor · Lead ammunition · Pollution

One Comment so far ↓

  • Anthony Canales

    As far as waterfowl hunting is concerned, The Wildlife Society has noted that waterfowl hunter numbers have not increased to pre-1989 levels despite the large increase in huntable waterfowl populations since the 1993-2000 period.

    By 1989, a large number of flyway areas were beginning to limit or ban lead ammunition from waterfowl hunting. Final dates nationwide were in the 1991 hunting season.

    Huntable waterfowl populations generally declined between 2000-2005, then started increasing in 2006 and 2007 (the latest year for data).

    There is no evidence that the opportunity to hunt waterfowl has not been adversely impacted by costs of an alternative ammunition that is not as widely affordable as lead or copper-plated lead is known to be.

    In fact, the divorce in the relationship of numbers of hunters versus the available “opportunity” to hunt waterfowl can be hypothesized to be related to the sum of all “friction” that keeps folks from hunting.

    Regulations that limit access, raise costs in ammunition, licenses and stamps, and closures of hunting areas at National Wildlife Refuges are all part of the mix.

    To say that expanding a ban on lead ammunition statewide will have no impact at all due to increased costs of replacement ammunition is therefore unsupportable, given the waterfowl hunting example cited.