Don't be 'lead' astray

Bill Dance: B.A.S.S. Member since 1968

Recent rumblings about the call to end the use of all lead by anglers (in their bait and tackle) and hunters (in their ammunition) has grabbed my attention as well as that of countless other sportsmen and the outdoor industry as a whole.

The rumblings, if not all-out outcry, began earlier this month when five environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle.

Personally, I am against such a ban, and I hope you are, too. If you get a chance, mention your position to your local elected representative.

Sure, like all sportsmen, I'm a conservationist. I want to protect our fish and wildlife and its habitat. Such lines of thought run long and true in the fabric of our hook and bullet sports. And it's not like we haven't always felt this way, nor put our actions and dollars (through license sales, excise taxes, etc.) where our passions lie.

History is filled with extremely significant contributions we sportsmen have made and continue to make to conservation.

But what have the anti's done for conservation, other than make some unfounded and unrealistic claims in regard to our fish and wildlife? Have they paid up via aforementioned license sales and excise taxes? Have they gone out and worked for it, say on "Habitat Days" with a bass club or fisheries biologist?

No. But they do complain a lot. So I guess that proves everybody's got to be good at something?

I think this called-for ban on the use of lead in lures and ammo is misguided at best, and honestly, it's downright unreasonable.

These groups argue that millions of animals are dying from eating lead or carcasses contaminated by lead.

I have no faith in their claims. Lead has been used for ages by both fishermen and hunters. Why now is it suddenly an "epidemic" to fish and wildlife as some supporters of this ban have claimed?

I see it plainly as an assault on sportsmen, those that enjoy fishing and hunting.

Indeed, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has called the petition an "anti-hunting attack on trade ammunition."

Steve Sanetti, NSSF president, has been quoted as saying "there is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations&."

Since the 1990s, there has been a ban on lead shot for waterfowl hunters. I think that is enough. The regulation should stop there.

And as for taking the lead out of fishing tackle, all kinds of problems exist. Talk about an industry-wide ripple? That would be a tsunami.

It makes no sense — common or otherwise.

We live in a world where we literally seem to be regulating ourselves past the point of sanity. Speaking of points, what's next, a petition that bans hooks while fishing with night crawlers?

 

For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out www.billdanceoutdoors.com.

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