Why It Matters: Limitations on the use of lead ammunition while hunting must be left under the professional, science-based discretion of the respective state’s fish and wildlife agency and not the misinformed efforts of the legislature. In New York’s case, the Division of Fish and Wildlife is the primary manager of the state’s fish and wildlife resources and continues to be the driving force behind the Empire State’s on-the-ground efforts that have resulted in burgeoning wildlife populations. The unscientific prohibition on the use of lead ammunition while hunting on wildlife management areas, state forests, forest preserves, state parks or any other state-owned land that is open for hunting, and the land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply will create a confusing patchwork of areas in which the use of lead is banned, financially burden sportsmen and women, and undermine the DFW’s authority.
- In short order, New York Assembly Bill 2084 (A. 2084) – a ban on the use of traditional ammunition while hunting – was pushed expeditiously through three Committees and the General Assembly in New York in the month of April.
- As written, this legislation would prohibit the use of lead ammunition for hunting on “wildlife management areas, state forests, forest preserves, state parks or any other state-owned land that is open for hunting” as well as “land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply”.
- This legislation has no stated science-based conservation rationale to justify its need.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has worked with in-state and national partners in opposing this legislation, as well as similar iterations, for several years and will continue to do so as this bill rests in the Senate.
In a matter of eight days, A. 2084 – legislation, that has no justifiable conservation science-based justification would prohibit the taking of wildlife with the use of lead ammunition on wildlife management areas, state forests, forest preserves, state parks or any other state-owned land that is open for hunting, and the land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply – cleared three committees and an Assembly floor vote in New York. CSF has a tenured history in fighting same-as and similar legislation in the Empire State and will be working closely with in-state partners towards defeating this bill.
Another significant concern with A. 2084 is the general confusion that will result with identifying which land areas contribute surface water to the New York City water supply. A map of the New York City water supply system shows the enormous land areas making up the Catskill/Delaware watershed area and Croton watershed area, and any surface water making its way into either of these watersheds would ultimately enter the City’s water supply. Therefore, sportsmen and women in roughly eight counties would be prohibited from using lead ammunition while hunting including on privately owned property.
Additionally, A. 2084 undermines the fish and wildlife management authority designated to the DFW. It is uniquely positioned to be able to react to changing conditions in real-time, evaluating the many variables that go towards the use of lead ammunition while hunting. Governor Hochul made special recognition of this fact when vetoing legislation earlier this year, stating that the Department of Environmental Conservation, which houses the DFW, “has the statutory authority to regulate hunting in New York.” By and large, these agencies prefer a justifiable, science-based voluntary approach, encouraging sportsmen and women to use nontraditional ammunition while pursuing game, where needed, rather than requiring it.
CSF looks forward to coordinating efforts with in-state and national partners, and members of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, in opposing A. 2084.