MARQUETTE – Two groups from the Upper Peninsula have joined a national effort to ban lead from ammunition used to hunt waterfowl on federal lands. The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and Chocolay Raptor Center were participated in a petition to the U.S. Department of Interior from the Humane Society of the United States asking for the use of non-lead ammunition.
Jerry Maynard with the Chocolay Raptor Center in Marquette said there are cases of eagles in the U.P. that suffer from lead poisoning.
“Eagles and vultures are the two most susceptible raptors to lead poisoning,” he said. “They get exposed to lead when they eat meat with lead in it either from gut piles that hunters leaves that have lead in it or wounded animals that escape and the hunter never find it and they have lead in it. The eagles and vultures find that and become exposed to lead.”
Maynard said lead has already been banned from such items as gasoline and paint because of its toxic nature.
“Decades ago, because of the adverse affects on children, we eliminated lead from paint even though it was a key component of paint for decades when we became aware of the adverse impact it was having on children. It’s just a very bad toxic compound. We should get rid of as much as we can from the environment,” said Maynard.
Lead was banned in 1991 from ammunition used to hunt migratory birds. Maynard said there was no reduction in hunting as a result of that ban.