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NSSF Refutes Federal Study's Claim That Traditional Ammunition Is Killing Bald Eagles

The NSSF released a public statement refuting a federal study that claims traditional ammunition is killing bald eagles in the upper Midwest.

Earlier this month the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study that claims traditional lead ammunition is increasing the mortality rates of bald eagles in the upper Midwest.

Last week, the National Shooting Sports Foundation - the trade organization for the firearms industry - released a statement refuting the USFWS study's findings.

To read the USFWS study on lead exposure in bald eagles in the upper Midwest, click here. 

According to the NSSF, " conclusive evidence exists that shows hunters and target shooters using traditional ammunition have caused a decline in the population of raptors. Rather, raptor populations, including the population of bald eagles, continue to steadily rise--a welcome and positive trend that coincides with the longstanding, widespread use of traditional ammunition by sportsmen across America."

The NSSF also claimed the study was flawed, because it inferred "a connection between bald eagle lead levels and one potential source of lead in the environment--fragments of lead in field-dressed game entrails--that is not supported by the data presented."

More from the statement:

The authors picked traditional ammunition as a potential source of lead from a list of other potential sources they acknowledge exist (historic mines, Army Depots). Despite a lack of literature about exposure from other sources (lead in landfills, paint and industrial sites), the authors argue these sources are unlikely to be the source of exposure for the eagles in the study and focus solely on ammunition fragments.

The USFWS study examined 58 bald eagles, and concluded that 60% of them had detectable lead concentrations; however, that percentage also included bald eagles that only had background traces of lead in their systems.

The NSSF also pointed out that the for more than 80 years, an 11% excise tax on traditional ammunition has been used in part to pay for conservation efforts to protect bald eagles.

What do you think about this issue? Do you think lead ammunition has a negative impact on wildlife? Do you agree with NSSF stance on the issue? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

More about lead ammunition and wildlife:

Will California's Ban on Lead Bullets Do Its Intended Job? 

Fast Facts About Traditional Ammo from the NSSF

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NSSF Refutes Federal Study's Claim That Traditional Ammunition Is Killing Bald Eagles