Subject: Lead Shot, Was: Avoiding militia-birder encounters
Date: May 1 08:30:10 1995
From: Stuart MacKay - stuart.mackay at

Peter Rauch wrote:

> I wonder what the potential for lead contamination and
> leaching into streams and lakes is from these kinds of
> activities. I know that shotgun shot has been a focus of
> attention, study, and (some?) regulation in this regard, but
> what about other type of shot? Is this amount of lead just
> background noise, or is it potentially seriously cumulative
> and dangerous?

It's a real serious problem back in the UK, which makes me think it will be
the same here - has anybody picked up on this yet ?

Two years ago on Loch Eye, near Inverness Scotland over 200 Greylag Geese and
100 mute Swans died of lead poisoning in a single incident when water levels
fell on the loch and birds were taking up large quantities of lead shot which
had accumulated from years of duck hunting.

There are moves to replace the lead shot in cartridges with steel. Duck
hunters are resisting as the killing distance is reduced by about 15%. Some
other alloys of magnesium are being field tested - not on live birds.

There used to be a similar problem with anglers losing lead weights which
were poisoning waterfowl. Once a good alternative was found, a informative PR
campaign which involved national organisations, angling journalists, etc
helped the majority of the UK's 2 million anglers make the change.

Stuart MacKay