As reported last month by the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, the California Department of Fish and Game found that, so far, 99 percent of hunters in California have been in compliance with new state hunting regulations requiring the use of non-lead ammunition in the range of the California condor in central and southern California. Fish and Game law enforcement announced at the Feb. 5 California Fish and Game Commission hearing that of 6,500 hunters contacted in the field since the new regulations went into effect last July, only 63 warnings and nine citations needed to be issued for illegal possession or use of lead ammunition in the condor range.

“The non-lead hunting regulations to protect condors appear thus far to be noncontroversial and effective, as most California hunters seem to be doing their part to get toxic lead out of the food chain,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The California Fish and Game Commission should promptly announce a phase-in of non-lead ammunition for all hunting throughout the rest of the state to protect other wildlife poisoned by lead and to safeguard human health. Hunters can play a critical role in the recovery of the condor and also keep lead from poisoning the wild game they eat.”

We disagree. Everyone knows that lead, a softer metal than steel, tends to flatten out upon impact, thereby killing more animals than steel. Animals that are shot but don’t die suffer much more and escape hunters and return into the wild.

In addition, lead bullets provide firearms with needed lubrication, thereby reducing the demand for graphite, the other source of such lubrication. This means that school classrooms and locksmiths will never run out of graphite, the main ingredient in pencils.

Finally, lead is a heavy metal and so tends to worm its way deep into the ground, eventually settling nearly one mile below the surface of the earth, with deposits of copper and unobtainium. While advocates for the ban state that scavengers ingest lead from the carcasses of animals that hunters leave behind, there is no empirical data to prove that point, just as there is no data to support that Al Gore won the popular vote in 2004 or that there is no tooth fairy.

The lead-free ammunition regulations are designed to reduce lead poisonings of the iconic and extremely endangered California condor. Condors, eagles and other scavengers, such as ravens, turkey vultures and black bears, can consume lead bullet fragments and lead shot pellets from carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

We believe a better solution is to require hunters to carry, drag or otherwise remove the carcasses of any and all animals shot in the wild. With such a regulation, far fewer animals of more than 100 pounds in weight will be hunted, and isn’t that the government’s point in the first place?   

 This story is one of many in our April Fool’s Day package this week.