Did you know that on the last day former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was in office, he issued an order banning the use of ammunition containing lead on Service lands in just five years? The parting shot, Director’s Order 219, was issued on the final full day of President Obama’s administration.
Now, U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has drafted and circulated a letter to President Trump signed by a bipartisan group of more than 60 members of Congress requesting that the order be rescinded. This order bans the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on all property managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by January 2022.
Director’s Order 219 requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately:
— Regional Directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition.
— The order also ends the use of traditional ammunition on Federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted.
— The order “expeditiously” bans traditional ammunition “when available information indicates” that lead is harmful to wildlife, without requirement of a scientific threshold on which to base that action.
— The order also requires creation of a timeline to restrict traditional ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting.
The Congressional letter to Trump says, in part, “Use of traditional lead ammunition and tackle has been prevalent in North America since its settlement. While FWS argues this directive is to the benefit of human, fish, and wildlife health, to this date, no scientific evidence has linked the use of lead to negative population levels of wildlife. In fact, healthy population levels of many species depend on hunting and angling participation. Lead-based ammunition and tackle is overwhelmingly preferred by sportsmen and fishermen alike for its superior performance, availability, and cost.”
Do you hunt or fish on Fish and Wildlife Service lands? If the ban were to stay in place, would it stop you from hunting or fishing on those lands? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.