On Wednesday, March 30 the NYS Assembly passed a bill that would ban use of lead ammo on state lands, as well as NYC DEP watershed lands. The Senate has not yet considered this legislation, but they did pass it last year. Now is the time to speak up and urge your State legislators to prevent this well-intentioned, but misguided bill from reaching the Governor's Desk.
While BHA shares the goal of transitioning away from lead ammunition for hunting, our experiences in other states show that high-percentage compliance in that transition is best achieved through hunter education. If you want to change behavior, you need buy-in from the people affected. In this case, that's the hunting community. Education is a key component of compliance.
In contrast, a ban could lead to negative hunter interactions with Rangers and ECOs, who are already stretched thin, and it would be difficult to enforce in the field given the look of polymer-tipped copper-jacketed lead bullets.
A ban would also likely hurt rural communities most, where access to non-lead alternatives is minimal, and comes at a premium price-point. Further, this might affect many of us out there hunting for our own food, and may effect the numbers of us that head afield. In short, this potential law could affect those of us who can least afford it the most.
In addition, and as an important facet to the discussion, a DEC workgroup is currently engaged on this very topic, and should be allowed to finish their findings prior to any statutory enactment, so that any policy decisions are based in science. Legislative impatience with a science-driven report is no reason to create law.
As a showing of a good-faith effort, we've compiled a list of constructive options to work with with policy makers within our action alert. We think it helpful to offer some positive paths forward. But it's going to take all of us to put our strong conservation ethic to work here, and place the option of voluntary adoption on non-lead ammo at the forefront of policy discussions. We can create the lasting compliance that the legislation seeks, but it's best achieved through buy-in and acceptance from the hunting community. We can get there quicker with cooperative and constructive dialogue in which all interests are considered. Let's speak up and present the hunting community with a leadership opportunity to showcase our commitment to the wildlife on our public lands and the resources we all share.
Thanks for everything you do to support public lands, waters and wildlife!
- The NY BHA Board