Lori Bird of Eagen loads an ammunition magazine into a rifle during the rifle range portion of a firearms safety course held at the Dakota County Gun Club in Rosemount.

Ramin Rahimian, Star Tribune

Counterpoint: Conservation, courtesy of hunters? Yes.

  • Article by: Rick Scott
  • November 15, 2013 - 6:28 PM


In “Get the lead out of hunting” (Nov. 9), the author mentions the recent action in California — taken under the guise of saving the condor — that will ban traditional hunting ammunition. He calls it “a step in the right direction for animal conservation,” while acknowledging that available alternatives are more expensive.

The sale of traditional ammunition actually contributes to the conservation efforts that have greatly benefited bald eagles and other animals, both hunted and nonhunted. For the last 76 years, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters have been paying an 11 percent excise tax on hunting gear, including ammunition. The proceeds are used for conservation efforts. California’s action will only hurt conservation, and the state’s economy, as hunters buy less ammo and even decide to hunt elsewhere. When this antihunting measure fails, I wonder if California will seek to stop wind turbines, which kill many raptors, birds and even bats.

Most lead used to make ammunition is recycled from old car batteries and other such items. If the author is concerned by copper mining, maybe he should keep that in mind as well.

Every year around the firearm deer season, someone writes a letter or commentary alleging that traditional ammunition is responsible for increased numbers of bald eagles becoming sick during hunting season, despite the lack of concrete scientific evidence that establishes that hypothesis.

Hunters have been using traditional ammunition for the better part of a century, and last year harvested more than 180,000 deer throughout the Minnesota. Meanwhile, the population of bald eagles has increased dramatically within the past two decades, both in Minnesota and across the country. The bald eagle has been removed from the list of endangered species, and the population here continues to soar.

The sale of traditional ammunition, guns and other hunting gear has been a key support for the conservation efforts that have brought the bald eagle back from the brink.


Rick Scott is president and CEO of Scott Builders in Buffalo, Minn.

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