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Arizona Hunters Encouraged To Take Lead-Reduction Measures

Non-lead ammunition supply issues across the nation are prompting the Arizona Game and Fish Department to remind hunters in the California condor's core range that they can still help reduce the amount of lead available to the birds by removing gut piles from the field.

Hunters in Arizona's condor range who remove their gut piles (lead ammunition only) are eligible to be entered into a raffle that offers prizes including a trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad with a two-night stay at the canyon, Cabela's gift cards, Navajo tribal lands deer tag, Navajo rugs, Grand Canyon National Park passes, and others.

"Game and Fish understands how frustrating it is for hunters to not find non-lead ammunition as part of the department's free non-lead ammo program, but the supply issues are beyond the department's control," said Allen Zufelt, the Arizona Game and Fish Department's condor program coordinator.

"Game and Fish is equally frustrated with the non-lead ammo supply shortages. However, hunters can still make a difference and participate in the lead reduction effort by removing their gut piles from the field."

In the last six years, 85 to 90 percent of hunters in Arizona's condor range have voluntarily either used non-lead ammunition during their hunts or, if they used lead ammunition, they removed the gut piles from the field.

Lead poisoning has been identified as the leading cause of diagnosed death in endangered condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona and southern Utah.

Studies suggest that lead shot and bullet fragments found in animal carcasses and gut piles are the most likely source of lead exposure. Many hunters do not realize that the carcass or gut pile they leave in the field usually contains lead bullet fragments.

Gut piles from animals harvested with non-lead ammunition provide an important food source for the condors and should be left in the field.

Information on non-lead ammunition and how hunters can help is sent by mail to those drawn for hunts in condor range. For more information on condors and lead and a list of available non-lead ammunition, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/condor.


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