Contact: Joe Mullin, Northeastern States Assistant Manager and States Program Assistant
Why it Matters: Proposals to ban lead ammunition are commonly brought forth by raptor rehabilitation centers under the auspices that these bans will somehow rectify individual cases of birds being harmed after ingesting lead fragments. While individual cases do occur, it is essential that fish and wildlife management decisions continue to be guided by population-level trends and not by isolated incidents. Considering the scarcity of all ammunition variants due to record-setting numbers of sales, requiring hunters to only use non-lead options would be entirely and unduly prohibitive. Sportsmen and women should be left the decision as to whether they are willing and/or able to make the switch to using a lead alternative.
Across the country, sportsmen and women are witnessing an unprecedented demand for ammunition. As shelves remain sparse, there are those out there who would see to it that the choices for hunters are even more strained; however, the Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stood up for Pine Tree State hunters by voting unanimously (with three absent) to reject LD 1015 – legislation that would ban the use of lead ammunition while hunting.
As previously reported, CSF’s Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, submitted a letter of opposition to the Committee and testified against this bill during its April 5 hearing. Mullin tuned-in for the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s April 14 work session to hear the members express their concerns over the availability of non-lead ammunition options, and the price tags that they carry – both of which serve as hurdles for existing sportsmen and women and barriers to entry for those looking to get involved in some of our nation’s time-honored sporting traditions.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) was heavily engaged in this work session as well, emphasizing that the Department has been implementing an educational campaign, encouraging hunters to make the switch to non-lead ammunition, rather than seeking to implement a strict ban on the use of lead. The MDIFW has been having conversations with stakeholders to discuss the use of non-lead options in the pursuit of game and affirmed for the Committee that it would continue to lead and maintain open dialogue on this issue with the appropriate stakeholders.
A motion was eventually raised for LD 1015 to be reported as “ought not to pass,” and by a vote of 10 in favor and none opposed (with three absent), the motion passed. CSF commends the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the MDIFW for its efforts to reject this prohibitive bill.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?