Did you know that lead isn’t just dangerous for humans? It hurts the environment around us, causes irreparable damage to the ecosystem and then comes back to haunt us. Lead poisoning was recently discovered in loons and eagles and this poses an entirely new threat. Dr. Helene Van Doninck expressed concern over a research she conducted showing that hunting and fishing activities introduced lead to the environment causing tremendous negative impacts on both man and nature.
What About Lead?
Lead is a metal that was commonly used in all sorts of applications, including things like house paint and plumbing, until we became aware of the dangers it posed to the human body. Since then, some countries have been taking proactive steps to diminish the dangers posed by lead, but it still manages to find its way due to lax regulations and improper screening or simply due to negligence. Dr. Doninck’s research shows how lead bullets don’t just affect the game, but also break down and spread throughout the animal and the environment in small particles that aren’t detectable to touch or sight. And considering that we have ready lead replacement bullets and lead substitutes available, this really shouldn’t be a concern anymore.
The New-Age Bullet
Modern day bullets are designed to break upon impact, spreading their particles about 18 inches from the point of entry. As a result, lead gets discarded in a large portion of the meat, and some of this lead also finds its way into the surrounding area and it simply cannot be quarantined in order to protect other animals from this poisoning. This means that if you’re shooting a deer, that portion of the meat should be safely discarded after removing. You also need to ensure that other forms of wildlife don’t get to feed on the discarded meat.
Avoiding the Problem
There are a number of things you can do to avoid the issue of lead poisoning. The simplest and most effective way is to look at a lead substitute or lead replacements such as lead-free ammunition. These bullets are made from copper and other high density materials so they’re entirely safe for the environment. Another thing you can do is look at a slower-velocity firearm as there is a lesser chance of fragmentation.
Most of the ammunition available uses lead but steps are now being taken to replace it. Lead bullets were banned for waterfowl hunting in the year 1997, and using lead fishing sinkers have also been banned while fishing ina national park. There was a time when there was no proper lead substitute, but that isn’t the case today. In fact, the Halifax Wildlife Association even offers an ammunition program that allows hunters to swap their lead bullets with safer alternatives.
So the next time you’re heading into the woods, make sure you avoid using lead ammunition and switch your lead bullets with friendlier and healthier lead replacements.