DFW is holding two workshops on lead ammunition ban for hunting

By JIM MATTHEWS www.OutdoorNewsService.com The Department of Fish and Wildlife will be holding a pair of workshops in Southern California to explain the implementation of the lead ammunition ban for all hunting that will be phased in from now through 2019. Hunters will no longer be able to use lead-based bullets, shot, buckshot, or slugs for any hunting statewide beginning that year. This is an expansion of the “condor zone” lead bullet ban that began in 2008. It expands the lead ban for hunting ammunition statewide and expands the ban to include all hunting ammunition – from shotshell loads for dove and quail to muzzleloading slugs and buckshot used for deer or wild pigs to rimfire ammunition used to hunt cottontail rabbits. The first of the two work shops will be held workshop this coming from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 5 the CDFW South Coast Regional Office at 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, and the second will be held 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 19 at a Chaffey College satellite facility located at 9375 Ninth Street, Rancho Cucamonga. These workshops will be held to explain how the DFW will phase in the ban over the next four years. Maybe we’ll also be able to get answers to a few other questions (but don’t hold your breath). First question: Why did the DFW director Chuck Bonham support AB 711, the bill passed last year that mandated this statewide ban? What data did the director possess that showed lead ammunition was threatening populations of wildlife on a statewide level? Was there science that showed that ammunition lead was leading to population declines of golden eagles? Or maybe badger or ravens? Anything the DFW could provide that shows that lead ammunition was a threat to any species other than condors. For example, is lead a bigger threat to golden eagles than wind energy farms in the Tehachapi region? Please, director and DFW minions, show us the data. Hunters have always supported solid conservation measures to help recover and enhance wildlife populations, but the DFW has always shown us the scientific data in the past when they asked us to embrace their suggested changes. So please, provide some data at these meetings that prove more gray foxes die from lead ammunition poisoning than die from road kills on any two-lane highway in the state. We need to know that lead ammunition is somewhere, somehow threatening a species of wildlife on a population level, not just killing an occasional critter like a car or wind mill blade or solar panel is doing. Second question: Please show us the data on how the ban of lead in the Condor Zone has improved condor survival and dropped the endangered birds’ blood lead levels. If the existing ban didn’t do that (and we all know that it hasn’t), please give us a scientific explanation about why that hasn’t happened -- especially when there are good data that show the lead ban has done wonders for golden eagle’s background lead levels. Oh, please, explain that one to us. If the DFW can’t provide us the science that supports this ban (and I’ve seen their PowerPoint presentation and it doesn’t), then maybe we should ask them how they can come before those being forced to comply with this moronic law and tell us it’s a good thing. We are likely to hear something like: “If we could save just one golden eagle….” “Or if just one less chukar or quail died from eating spent lead shot in the desert….” If we’re going to play that game, we need to use the same rules to regulate cars on highways and surface streets, powerlines, wind energy farms, and solar plants. Using the same logic we’ve used to ban lead ammunition, we’d probably set maximum high speeds of no more than 10 miles per hour in deer areas to make sure they aren’t hit on roads. Or ban car use at night in endangered kangaroo rat habitat. Wind and solar energy projects would just need to be shut down entirely. I mean, “if we could save just one….” The sad part is that the DFW staff who will be giving these little presentations are going to catch grief from those of us who attend, and they are likely to tell you privately they were embarrassed by the DFW director Chuck Bonham when he said the DFW supported the bill to ban lead. Too bad the director doesn’t have the courage to show up at these events. ….MORE ON NON-LEAD: The Arizona Game and Fish Department announced in early July that sportsmen who would be hunting in that state’s condor areas might see a shortage of non-lead ammunition and advised them to start shopping now. In Arizona, the use of non-lead ammunition in the condor range is voluntary and compliance is very high, nearly on par with California where it is mandated. In California, there has been shortage of non-lead ammunition since the Condor Zone ban in 2008, but the DFW never warned hunters of shortages or followed through with a promise to help sportsmen offset the much higher cost of non-lead ammunition. Deer tags still available in many hunting zones While all of California’s premium deer tags sold out during the drawings in June, deer tags remain available over-the-counter for many deer zones in the state with excellent public land access for hunters. Some zones, which have traditionally not sold out or sold out early in the season, have already filled or are on the verge of selling out this year. For example, the D6 in the western Sierra Nevada had its season tag quota reduced from 10,000 to 6,000 tags because of massive fires in 2013 that have lead to public access closures on vast areas of the hunting zone. If the DFW has kept the 10,000 tag quota, the closure would have forced all the hunting pressure into the remaining open area in the zone and could have led to an overharvest of bucks. As of Friday at the end of business, the entire 6,000-tag quota for D6 had sold out. Here is a list of tags still available as of Friday: B zones have 17,938 available. D3-5 has 20,530. D7 has 810. D8 has 5,179. D10 has 438. D11 has 4,308. D13 has 3,044. D14 has 1,332. D15 has 1,245. D16 has 411. D19 has 612. A18 (archery hunt in X9C) has 68, and A32 (Late season archery in Ventura and Los Angeles counties) has 73. The DFW updates tag availability daily and the latest information on leftover tags can be found at this link: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/biggame/. “Special” hunting opportunities to be offered on DFW-owned wildlife area and ecological reserves The Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a host of special hunting opportunities for hunters this fall on state-owned wildlife areas, ecological reserves, and even on private property in the southern half of the state. All of the hunts are drawing-only hunts, and application deadlines are approaching rapidly. There will be an apprentice (or junior) deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve (west of Taft) for three junior license holders the weekend of Sept. 13-14 with room and board provided by California Deer Association volunteers. Applicants must submit a postcard with the junior hunter’s name, address, telephone number, and 2014-2015 junior hunting license number (GO ID number) to: Chimineas Apprentice Deer Hunt, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3196 South Higuera Street, Suite A, San Luis Obispo 93401. Only one postcard may be submitted per applicant. Applications must be received by 5 p.m., Aug. 8. There will be three special dove hunting at the Oak Grove sub-unit of the San Felipe Wildlife in eastern San Diego County on Sept. 6. There will also be two hunts at the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve on Sept. 7 and Nov. 9 For information on how to apply, call the DFW’s South Coast Region’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program at 805-965-3059, or go to the DFW website page at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/. Click on “Game Bird Special Hunts Program.” The DFW’s Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will be providing two public access hunts on private land in Santa Barbara County. Jones Ranch and Sleepy Creek Ranch in Santa Barbara County will offer hunts for deer, bear, turkey, quail and dove. These remote ranches in West Cuyama Valley encompass 1,000 acres between them and will offer separate hunting opportunities. The terrain features miles of trails through oak savannahs, riparian habitat, juniper-sage woodlands and chaparral. Both ranches back up to 250 acres of Bureau of Land Management land as well as the Los Padres National Forest, providing extra hunting access. For more information about each SHARE property and the opportunities available please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/. END

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