Letter to the Editor

BY DI READER | DECEMBER 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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Hunters should switch from lead

I'd like to thank all hunters who have switched from lead shot to lead-free ammunition.

Lead has been taken out of paint and gasoline but much is left in the wild from recreational hunting, where it enters the food chain and endangers wildlife and humans alike. Bald eagles are especially prone to lead poisoning, because they are opportunistic feeders and will feast on entrails left behind by hunters. I realize that hunting is a valuable tool to control the wildlife population. This is not a gun-control issue, this is a toxic-substance issue.

If you have ever watched a video of a bald eagle suffering from lead poisoning, you would not forget it. It dismantles the eagle's nervous system, and it suffers tremendous pain and perishes. DDT caused the bald eagles to be labeled as endangered, but that just affected their eggs. This is killing adult and juveniles alike. Juvenile bald eagles are often mistaken for turkey vultures, because they do not acquire the white head and tail feathers until maturity at around 4 to 5 years old. Statistics show that only 50 percent of juveniles will make it through their first year, and only 20 percent will make it to adulthood. Their numbers are bleak, at best, and to have a poison contributing to their low numbers is a disservice to our national symbol, especially because it is preventable.

I am asking all hunters to please bury entrails, because lead fragmentation disperses more widely than previously thought. Also, please switch to lead-free ammunition to keep our wildlife as well as our children safe from lead poisoning.

Christine Braun
Ohio resident

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