New York Hunters are Being Ask to Change their Ammo
I feel like I have to start this by saying that I am not a hunter, and my knowledge of hunting comes from what I have been told by friends who hunt or by what I have read over the years. I realize that as someone who hasn't been in the woods, I may not understand completely everything that goes into choosing the gun you hunt with or the ammo you use in that gun.
No one I know that hunts wants to see an eagle or any other animal suffering from lead poisoning. I like to think that I know a lot of responsible hunters who are out each year harvesting animals for all the right reasons. That being said, I feel comfortable sharing what I have learned over the last few years about lead bullets verse copper or some other material.
My first conversation about the effect of lead bullets came when I had a talk with the late founder of Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center Missy Runyan. She was the person that first explained to me how the lead was getting into the diet of some of the animals that feed on deer carcasses that are left behind after field dressing and also from those that are put down by law enforcement after an accident.
I didn't realize that a lead bullet shattered the way it did on impact, leaving fragments of lead behind in the meat that is often picked over by birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and owls - not to mention coyotes and other meat-eating wildlife. Leaving the deer carcass behind for predators is a great idea unless it contains lead that can poison them. Missy and her crew have treated, and continue to treat, animals that suffer the effects of lead poisoning.
Their work to rehab Eagles and other animals who ingest lead left behind by bullets is the reason that once again, as hunting season starts up, Friends of the Feather and Furry along with other groups including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are asking that hunters consider using copper bullets instead of lead.
If you would like to learn more about the debate of copper bullets over lead here are some of the articles I have read since I first spoke with Missy who is the reason New York has a program that has police using copper bullets instead of lead when having to answer a call where a deer is in distress and must be put down. She started a bullet swap.