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Time is Running Out; Washington Hunters Must Speak Now!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has imposed a ban on the use of traditional (lead) ammunition for all upland bird hunting on all WDFW pheasant release sites across the state.  This restriction was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission two years ago but its implementation was delayed until this hunting season.  The Commission adopted the restriction during the course of its 2010-2012 hunting season-setting process.

With this in mind, it is critical that hunters and sportsmen participate in the 2012-2014 season-setting process.  The WDFW is now in the initial public comment phase of the process, which will end this Tuesday, September 20.  You can bet that the anti-hunting extremists are participating in the process, so the importance of hunters and sportsmen participating cannot be overstated!  Please see below for details on how to submit your comments.

The current traditional ammunition restrictions pertain to quail, dove, pheasant and any upland bird hunted on the pheasant release sites.  No scientific studies have been cited showing population-level impacts of lead ammunition on these species in Washington.  Further, published scientific papers elsewhere admit they don’t know that there are any problems associated with the use of lead shot to hunt upland game.  The WDFW seems to be acting on emotion and politics, citing the “potential” for problems associated with lead ammunition as the basis for these far-reaching restrictions. 

The NRA believes that the current push to ban the use of traditional ammunition in Washington is part of a new strategy being used by anti-hunting and anti-gun activists all over the country to attack our hunting traditions and firearm freedoms.  Traditional ammunition bans have a significant, chilling effect on hunting by pricing hunters out of the market while hunters’ ranks are already in decline.  Having fewer hunters is a threat to the future of our hunting heritage and means less funding for wildlife and habitat conservation.  The opposition’s “next logical step” will be to propose a complete, statewide ban on traditional ammunition in Washington.  This is the pattern in other states so don’t think “it won’t happen here!”

Although it is too late to do anything about the existing restriction on traditional ammunition for this season, hunters and sportsmen now have the opportunity to demand that the restriction be withdrawn for the next three years and vocally oppose any further unsubstantiated restrictions on the use of lead in ammunition.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has adopted a traditional ammunition resolution stating that "state agencies should focus regulation efforts where population-level impacts to wildlife are substantiated." (AFWA - 2010 Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle Resolution) (emphasis added).  With no population-level impacts cited, it is time to tell the WDFW that emotion and politics have no place in wildlife management.

With that in mind, it is important for you to submit your comments and concerns to the WDFW.  Your voice matters!  Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, September 20.  Please request that the ban on the use of traditional ammunition on pheasant release sites be lifted in 2012 and beyond, and demand that there be no further unsubstantiated restrictions imposed on the use of lead in ammunition in the future.

Comments can be submitted via e-mail, by sending them to wildthing@dfw.wa.gov; be sure to put “2012-2014 Hunter Comment/Concern” in the subject line.  You can also submit comments via regular mail, please address your letter as follows:

ATTN: Wildlife Program
Hunter Comment
600 Capitol Way N. 
Olympia
, WA 98501-1091

In addition to submitting specific comments by e-mail or mail, you can take the WDFW “2012-2014 Hunting Season Development Survey.”  This scoping survey asks a series of questions on issues ranging from the spring black bear harvest to cougar management.  At the end of the survey you can choose to submit “additional comments”; from there you can click “Other” and leave a comment relating to the regulation of lead ammunition in the comment box provided.

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