Over the past few weeks I have told stories of different ways to experience common activities such as fishing from jet skis and using a paddleboard to float down a long stretch of river. My goal is to show different ways that can make the trip more exhilarating and memorable in order to entice someone to hunt or fish or hike or camp that normally would not.
Our heritage, America’s heritage is based on these skills. Forefathers such as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, George Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt were outdoorsmen before they were leaders. It is important to pass these experiences and skills to our children so the heritage is not lost forever.
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about what could happen if the government were to introduce a lead ban. I only mention this because California has a law in the making to ban all lead in the use of ammunition.
The story I wrote told of the potential threat to hunting and fishing should a lead ban come to be. One way the anti-hunting community was looking to strike a blow to our heritage was through the use of the Environmental Protection Agency to ban lead in ammunition and fishing lures.
As most hunters know, lead ammunition is much cheaper than other types. A new hunter is often exposed to hunting by means of small game and bird hunting. My first love of hunting came from dove hunting. The action is rapid and one learns how to use a firearm quickly due to the number of shots. However, someone who has just been introduced to dove hunting usually misses much more than they hit and can shoot several cases of shotgun shells. At roughly $5.00 per box, a new hunter can spend at most $40.00 on ammunition for a full day’s hunt. Compared to steel shot that can reach $25.00 per box or more, you can see why someone will be less likely to try hunting if just learning how to shoot.
In the past few weeks we have learned of government eavesdropping and manipulation through different agencies on nearly all Americans. Much of this tampering and surveillance stems from laws such as the Patriot Act. Laws designed under good intentions with protection of the people in mind can over time begin a different path. Just as a janitor is only doing his job by picking up and throwing paper on the floor away, it is easy for one to lose the big picture as the janitor did not look to see that the paper he just threw away was clearly paperwork that had blown off of a nearby desk.
The potential new law in California is already being heralded. But there are further issues regarding the law. First, the law is being pushed through on the basis that the California condor is threatened by lead poisoning by feeding on the carcasses of lead shot game animals. However, the areas where the majority of the condors live and feed are already in a lead free zone. Second, surveys from biologists are being used for proof of the need of lead free ammunition. Again though, biologists that have conflicting data are being ignored in the push for the law to pass.
What we have to do now is look at the full picture. If the banning of lead is required to save a species, it can be understood. The biologists’ roles in this debate are to keep the species at a sustainable level for future generations. We cannot ignore data that does not meet our wishes. But we cannot react without know the full picture either.