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October 20, 2007

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CA Gov. Signs Bullet Ban to Protect Condors

Last month I wrote about a bill that had been placed before Governor Schwarzenegger of California mandating that hunters must use non-toxic bullets when hunting in areas inhabited by condors. Now, it’s reported that Governor Schwarzenegger has signed the bill.

According to Safari Club International, “The law, called the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act (introduced by Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara), usurps some of the authority of the State Fish and Game Commission to regulate hunting in the State. The purported purpose of the Act is to protect endangered condors from lead ingestion. The Act mandates non-lead ammunition for big-game and coyote hunting in condor range. The Act defines condor range in an overbroad fashion using deer zones and highways in an area of south and central California.”

But worse than the very broad range this act effects is that it “requires completely lead-free ammunition, which does not currently exist, according to testimony given to the Commission.” By the way, according to SCI, “violations of the Act can result in fines of up to $5,000.”

Another release from the American Bird Conservancy (you can guess which side they’re on] states that, “There have been 276 documented cases of lead poisoning of California Condors since 2000, and a dozen deaths possibly linked to lead.” Note that it says, “a dozen deaths possibly linked to lead.” Nowhere does it mention anything about these deaths being attributed to condors ingesting lead bullets or bullet fragments.

If somebody can show me the forensic proof that lead bullets are killing condors, I’ll gladly move on but these kinds of fuzzy inferences have succeeded in doing nothing but keep hunters locked out of condor inhabited areas. I’ll be curious to see just how detailed the California Fish & Game department is going to be in delineating condor areas for hunters. According to their Web site, they’re talking about an area from “the Central Coast Range from Alameda Co. south to Los Angeles Co.” That’s a mighty big piece of real estate. And with a $5,000 fine a possibility should you be caught in the wrong territory, who’s going to risk it?

Todd Smith



I understand that damage lead can do to people (and animals) if enough is ingested. I just don't think it's been proven that the condors are ingesting lead from gut piles.

It's another way to make hunting and shooting more expensive and more regulated.

I just hope the ammo companies can come up with some cost effective lead substitues. I know winchesters new xp3 shotgun slug is a tin core wrapped in copper.

With copper being so expensive, perhaps that would help keep the cost down.

I don't know, but I do know it's getting harder and harder to keep up with all the regulations.


Chris Byrne

jstreet, there are plenty of solid copper projectiles out there, but by law we cant use the best solution, copper wrapped around tungsten, because that would be
"armor piercing".

Also, this new law mandates "completely lead free ammunition', and that is not currently possible, because primers contain lead compounds.


"Also, this new law mandates "completely lead free ammunition', and that is not currently possible, because primers contain lead compounds."

CA's legislative drafters aren't known for their skill. The microstamping bill contains provisions relating to the patents involved that will, in all likelihood, delay its implementation for years past 2010; even then, it won't be a crime to remove the MS as its not considered a "serial number".

More on the lead ban BS here: