Why It Matters: Because alternative ammunition options are often more costly and limited or difficult for hunters to obtain, bans like the one recently repealed in Minnesota can create a barrier for participation. With fewer hunters able to participate, the crucial role that hunting plays in wildlife management is diminished, both in population control and in state agency funding.
- Earlier this year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that hunters in the state would be banned from using lead ammunition on certain public lands, which it implemented through an expedited emergency rule adoption in August.
- Last week, the Minnesota DNR adopted another emergency rule – this time repealing the earlier rule, stating that non-lead ammunition was not readily available for hunters to purchase, which would have significantly reduced hunting participation and undermined the wildlife management benefits that hunting provides each year.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) supports this decision and the accompanying recognition of the important role that hunting serves in conservation.
The Minnesota DNR adopted an emergency rule to repeal a new requirement that would have banned hunters from using lead ammunition when participating in special hunts or disease-management hunts in State Parks or in Scientific and Natural Areas. Without this repeal, hunters would have also been banned from using lead ammunition during regular hunts in Scientific and Natural Areas.
Alternatives to lead ammunition can be expensive and difficult to obtain, so bans on traditional lead ammunition can create barriers for hunters to participate in our time-honored traditions. Such barriers reduce the positive benefits that hunters contribute to conservation. This impact is especially significant in Minnesota, where in 2021 alone, hunters and anglers generated more than $103 million through the “user pays – public benefits” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding, ranking 4th in the country. Additionally, state agencies rely on hunting as the preferred wildlife management tool, so fewer hunters afield may jeopardize management objectives.
The Minnesota DNR has denied multiple petitions in recent years calling for broad bans on lead ammunition and tackle, but still expressed support for alternatives in this statement earlier this year. If a state legislature or agency seeks to implement policies that transition hunters away from traditional lead ammunition, the many benefits that hunters bring to conservation must be given heavy consideration.