(KCPW News) State wildlife officials will continue their efforts to get hunters in southern Utah to switch to non-lead ammunition with a demonstration Saturday in Kanab. The goal is to reduce lead poisoning in the endangered California Condor, which feeds on animal carcasses. But Conservation Outreach Manager Lynn Chamberlain with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources notes there have been challenges.
“Unfortunately it’s difficult during hunting seasons, like the archery season going on right now, to get people to come out and watch, and it’s kind of difficult when it’s not a hunting season because they’re thinking about other things,” he says. “So our turnout hasn’t been as good as we’d like it to have been.”
Chamberlain says the challenge is getting hunters to see that non-lead ammunition is just as effective, and that people are generally resistant to change, noting that lead ammunition has been used for centuries.
Northern Arizona has had more success in getting hunters to make the switch. And Chamberlain says with Utah recently creating smaller hunting units, wildlife officials here expect to see greater success as well.
“Now, they actually have to draw that tag, so we have the names and addresses of everybody who actually hunted that up front, and we can contact them personally and approach them with the idea of hunting with non-lead ammunition,” says Chamberlain.
The state offers coupons of up to $50 for hunters to purchase non-lead ammunition for use in areas that are dangerous to condors.