Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available

July 31, 2014

Lead Ban ChroncilesCalifornia hunters (and hunters from other states take note), according to the Humane Society’s “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, lead-free ammunition is readily available in California.

I’m not sure how one gets the title of  “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, but this fellow has apparently done extensive research and determined that any hunter in CA who needs lead-free ammo can get it in plenty of time for hunting season.  I guess any of you who were planning to attend the CDFW lead ammo workshops in hopes of expressing your concerns about the lack of ammo availability can just stay home.  The problem is solved.  I mean, we can take a press release from the Humane Society at its word, right?

Here’s what the press release says.  There’s a link to the actual study in the release.  The PDF is really, REALLY worth a read.

A new study from one of the world’s leading experts in use of nontoxic ammunition shows that nonlead ammunition is widely available throughout California. The study (see PDF) surveyed retail stores in California and online sources, concluding there is widespread market and retail availability of all popular shotgun and rifle ammunition types for the take of wildlife in California.

Last year, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 711, requiring the state’s Fish and Game Commission to implement regulations requiring the use of nontoxic, nonlead ammunition for all hunting in California by 2019. In his signing message approving the bill, Gov. Jerry Brown urged the Commission to phase in this implementation in the “least disruptive” manner possible. The study addresses Gov. Brown’s request and addresses any concerns regarding the uncertainty about the market and retail availability of nonlead ammunition in California.

“With nonlead ammunition already this widely available before the law is even implemented, we can only expect this availability to increase even more once the law is active,” said Dr. Vernon Thomas, who presented his study to the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee on Monday. “The findings should give the Department and Commission confidence that they can implement AB 711 as soon as possible without disrupting hunting activity in California.”

Thomas’ report was commissioned by the sponsors of AB 711 (Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the United States).

According to Thomas, five major U.S. companies already produce nonlead rifle ammunition in more than 48 different calibers that are readily available online and in major sporting/hunting goods stores in California. These calibers include those suitable for hunting all designated species in California.

Of the 111 retail stores in California surveyed for this study, 76 percent carried at least some nonlead ammunition for the purposes of hunting. Availability of nonlead calibers in these stores ranged across the most common hunting ammunition types. In cases where nonlead ammunition cannot be found in a retail store, online retailers are often able to provide the desired ammunition.

Thomas noted that many retailers are actually waiting for the state to implement AB 711 before they begin stocking nonlead ammunition, or expand their current offerings.

“For the minority of stores that had low or no inventory of nonlead ammunition, they reported that lack of customer demand was the primary reason, suggesting that the sooner customers must comply with AB711, the sooner availability on store shelves will increase,” said Thomas.

The California state legislature approved AB 711 in response to mounting research showing that lead from ammunition poses a danger to wildlife and human health. More than 130 wildlife species have been found to be at risk of poisoning by spent lead ammunition left behind by hunters in the field, and people consuming meat hunted with lead ammunition have been shown to have higher levels of lead in their bloodstream.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibited the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, and California passed a law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition within the range of the California condor in 2007.
July 28, 2014

Compelling stuff, huh?  Did you read the report yet?

So all snark and facetiousness aside, this is what CA hunters are up against.  The language of AB711 says that full implementation is dependent on the availability of lead-free options.  This report suggests that the availability question has been resolved, and that there should be no further barriers to full implementation of AB711.

Of course, the report is bullshit.  Seriously, read it.

The timing of the report was well choreographed, since today (08/01) marks the end of the CDFW’s input period for public feedback regarding lead-free ammo.  The obvious hope is that hunters failed to participate in the process, leaving little competition for this half-assed report.  It’s a slick move, but that’s what HSUS does best.

If nothing else, I hope this makes clear what I’ve been saying.  CA hunters, you have to take an active role in the process, or your opportunity is going to be taken away from you.  Whether it’s the lead ban, bans on bear hunting, or any other attack on hunting, you are your only reliable allies.  There are organizations that can help, but they depend on you for their strength… especially in California.  This report is a pretty clear indication of what will happen if you do nothing.

And hunters across the country should be taking note.  This is how the game is being played, and organizations like HSUS are masters.  They are a well-funded and motivated opponent.  Don’t underestimate them.


9 Responses to “Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available”

  1. Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available | on August 1st, 2014 02:20

    […] Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available […]

  2. Neil H on August 1st, 2014 06:56

    Oh good! Then I guess not finding non- lead ammo for my .357 these last 7 months was just a figment of my imagination. Maybe I should try shopping in the same alternate universe they do! I can pick up a box of .300 Savage too.

    Jokes aside you are 100 percent right about the threat these people pose, and not just to hunting. They are patient, systematic, well funded, and won’t stop until they establish their vegan caliphate. Which also sounds like a joke, until you look at the individuals that run it and their ideals. Any moderation they show is merely tactical.

  3. JAC on August 1st, 2014 21:30

    As you know, I’ve been a proponent of the notion that the invisible hand of the market will fill California’s demand for non-lead ammo prior to the statute’s enactment. Before I get going with my argument again, I’ll concede that I hunted pigs in CA in February and couldn’t find .270 ammo for the guy who hosted us. We did find 30-06 ammunition at the first store we tried, but tried another six or so before concluding that we were a two rifle trio. Anecdotes going both ways (or just one way as usually deployed) aren’t argument you say! Yes. That’s correct.

    I can’t read the report just now since I just quit working and I have a hike at 5:30 (elk season is coming). But I wanted to toss the gauntlet before I fade away and I also wanted to point out that though I just scanned the pdf, it it looks like the methodology is there and that is significant, or should be to the sort of folk who demand fairness.

  4. JAC on August 1st, 2014 22:41

    So…. I am willing to concede that that report is a steaming pile. It cites to itself. It doesn’t explain how compliance is measured. It actually demonstrates that it is false on its face. I’m stunned. Gobsmacked.

    Dear California: I am a professional researcher. I started hunting in 1978. I am, to the extent anyone can be, an expert on caliber and gauge. Hire me and two associates, and in 140-200 hours of billable work, I’ll demonstrate to a reasonable degree of statistical probability, that I am right in my assertion that there is a reasonable likelihood, that, well before 2019, sportsmen of ordinary means will be able to go afield and bag a limit of game with conforming ammunition. Take me up on this, California.

  5. Phillip on August 3rd, 2014 08:32

    Thanks for the “concession”, John… although one has hardly to concede recognizing the truth for what it is. Regardless of your position on the lead ammo issue, this “report” by the so-called expert is a prime example of how HSUS and other organizations in support of the lead ban are doing their best to snow the public (and the Fish and Wildlife Commission). And the fact that they’re willing to resort to ersatz research to further their agenda would suggest, to some people at least, that the truth really isn’t on their side. This report undermines any credibility the organization may have had, and should call into question any previous claims or reports they have made in the past.

  6. JAC on August 3rd, 2014 15:55

    Wow. Hostile to HSUS much? I can’t see how this particular pretend research could call into question previous claims or reports. Has this particular PhD written all of HSUS position papers? And even if he had, what does a single instance demonstrate? Anybody using “ersatz” ought to take whatever claims and reports appear on their individual merits. Frankly, where credibility is concerned, I find HSUS more credible because this study may have been crap, but it was utterly transparent in its crappiness.

    The whole methodology was a mistake. They should have asked the manufacturers what their five year plan is to provide (take advantage of) the California market. Calling retail stores in the middle of an ammunition shortage gives only a meaningless snapshot in an irrelevant time period. Know what kind of ammunition we have on our shelves in AZ where we don’t have lead-free zones and we’ll shoot any old thing? Almost none. Nobody can glean any information from the present panic-buying induced shortage that sheds light on the next few years.

  7. Phillip on August 4th, 2014 17:22

    Are you bored, John, and just trying to get me stirred up with Jabberwockian nonsense like, “Frankly, where credibility is concerned, I find HSUS more credible because this study may have been crap, but it was utterly transparent in its crappiness?”

    First, yes, I have an over-abundance of enmity toward HSUS… one might even call it a surfeit of hatred. I hate their insidious methods… their perpetration of fraud on the ignorant masses, and their knowledge that they’ll never really be held accountable for the deceit (most people will never even know they’ve been deceived). They’re masters of meme theory, and they know just how much truth to add to a piece of propaganda to sell it well. They fight dirty, irrespective of truth, and I choose to blame them (right or wrong) for dragging much of the pro-hunting argument into the filth along with them until the air is so full of shit that it’s pretty difficult for the observers to distinguish one from the other. You distance yourself because the stench is overwhelming… and the further you are from the fight, the less likely you are to make any meaningful contribution.

    Yes, I hate them because they are so good at what they do. I hate them like I hate a cactus spine deep in the sole of my foot. And I hate them because I know they want me to hate them, so my hatred represents a victory against my will. Because I make no secret of this hatred, I have to be exceedingly cautious in my criticisms of them, so that I don’t allow prejudice to taint fact.

    (HSUS is hardly the only evil in the world, but that’s who we’re talking about right now.)

    I call their research “ersatz” because this report is hardly the first to use specious methodology to posit speculation as conclusive evidence. The difference here is that this particular report is so badly flawed that any layman can see the errors (if he only bothers to look), whereas many of the other reports on this issue are so obfuscated and convoluted that it requires subject matter expertise, or at least research, to see where the flaws and misdirection lie. Hypothesis is presented as fact, and extrapolation is based on the most tenuous factors. And of course, most people aren’t going to do the additional research. And that’s what HSUS and their ilk are counting on. “Take our word for it,” they imply.

    And to what end?

    The continued use of lead ammunition is not going to result in the extinction of raptors and scavenger birds, much less any other wildlife. It’s not going to result in some sudden epidemic of lead poisoning among humans, or even specific to hunters. Lead is not some new thing we’ve recently discovered for ammunition… we’ve been using it since the dawn of firearms. We’ve been killing and eating game with lead bullets, shot, and slugs for hundreds of years. These “disastrous,” toxic effects to humans and wildlife have never emerged.

    And a ban on lead ammunition isn’t going to suddenly herald the end of hunting. Most honest, practical people recognize this reality as well. It will be a sore spot, certainly, but hardly insurmountable. Some heirloom firearms will be removed from the field, but by-and-large, hunters will adjust.

    So why keep the pressure up, to the point of manufacturing evidence like this report? Why keep pushing this effort to ban lead ammo, despite twice being rejected by the EPA, rejection by the National Park Service, and by states like Arizona and (so far) Utah?

    Of course there’s the pat answer… the conclusion to which HSUS would like you to jump… that it’s just about the health and welfare of those poor animals. I expect that there’s a nugget of truth in there… gleaming like an undigested peanut in a fresh pile of shit. That’s the message, along with the pictures of sad doggies and mangy kittens, that keeps those donations rolling in. By extension, reducing the number of hunters in the field is also (according to certain logic) beneficial to the health and welfare of animals. So any action that might lead to that end… even incrementally… would be welcomed by many of the HSUS faithful.

    But how does pushing a lead ammo ban lead to a reduction in the number of hunters? Didn’t I just say that a lead ban wouldn’t herald the end of hunting?

    Machiavelli would be proud. The poison isn’t in the lead ban itself. It’s in hunters’ rejection of the lead ban. It’s not tactical, but strategic… a public relations coup. You can’t lose (if you’re HSUS or CBD, or any of the others), when you get the self-avowed champions of wildlife and conservation (hunters) to start crowing about how we don’t need to ban lead because, “it’s only killing a few birds.”

    I know how it looks, and I know how this plays. HSUS keeps up the campaign of misinformation, knowing full-well that most folks never read past the headline. Every time hunters protest, it looks like we don’t really care about wildlife conservation. It sounds like we couldn’t give a damn about poisoning those poor, little critters. Some of us could try to explain the contradiction, but the general public doesn’t care about the details. 94% of the people in this country don’t hunt. A ban on lead hunting ammo sure doesn’t impact them.

    So yeah, there’s a little bitterness here. No love lost, as they’d say. It puts my sense of fairness out of joint… derails the train of justice… wraps me around the axle. I see the truth. It’s right there, so obvious to me, and I’m frustrated to no end that a little ham-fisted prestidigitation with the facts is enough to hide that truth from so many other people.

  8. Neil H on August 5th, 2014 10:11

    I’m fumbling around between “Yes, exactly.” and “Amen!”

  9. JAC on August 23rd, 2014 00:09

    Hello friend: I’ve been inundated by work.. I didn’t know that you’d responded to me, Forgive my late response. I will do my best to fully respond to your polemic at some point this weekend.

    over the weekend.