Are you happy with the skyrocketing cost of ammunition over the last few years? How would you feel about being required to shoot self-defense bullets that are less effective than what you currently have? What would your response be if you were told you had to compete with ammunition that had an inferior ballistic coefficient than what you could be using? What would your response be if these restrictions were being imposed on you simply so that someone with a bird feeder in his/her backyard could feel better about nature, and the limitations put on you had no basis in research?
That is exactly what is happening to dove hunters, and it can very easily happen to people who shoot for any other reason.
Supporters of banning lead shot for use in dove hunting say that there is an issue of health, especially to children. This said, these people will not be the ones eating the birds, and it is doubtful children will begin scouring fields to chew on the discarded shot. Critics of lead ammunition say lead should be banned because it affects wildlife like eagles, yet no legitimate research shows there is any effect on wildlife populations.
For many, banning lead for hunting doves is not about ammunition. It is about doves.
That is exactly what should scare you, whether you hunt doves or not.
Iowa is on the verge of becoming the first state to ban a type of ammunition for a species, using no peer reviewed research, and based solely on emotional and political ideology. Under the guises of public safety and conservation, groups that do not want doves hunted in Iowa have found a convenient way to restrict dove hunting: ammunition. They hope hunters will be deterred by ammunition with decreased effectiveness and increased cost. Steel shot string patterns are 2/3 the diameter and 1/2 the length of lead patterns. In order to obtain non-toxic shot that has the same performance characteristics as the lead ammunition used to hunt doves, the cost increases from $5.44 for a box of 25 shells ($0.22/shell) to $26.99 for a box of 10 shells ($2.70/shell). That is an increase of 1240% to give a stranger who doesnít hunt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Many people who shoot think this doesnít apply to them since they donít hunt doves. They need to think again.
If ammunition can be restricted for no scientific reason for one shooting sport, there is no reason that it cannot be restricted for any other sport or purpose. Lead is present in 95% of ammunition currently sold, and well-organized groups like the EPA have attempted to impose regulations on it in the past. If emotion and feel-good politics are allowed to triumph in the case of the dove, there is no doubt an inroad will be made into other shooting sports and activities, including those with no connection to hunting. At the end of the day, a ban intended for doves can become a means to severely restrict ammunition as a whole.
So, what will it be, $67.48 for a $5.44 box of shells, or a disgruntled birdwatcher?
Think about it for a while, and then contact your State Senator regarding SJR 2001. The session's scheduled end is next Tuesday.