Copper bullets should be in your future
Ammo is in limited supply once again. Maybe it is time for you to make the switch to copper ammunition before you are ordered to do so.
Another deer hunting season has passed. It is time for hunters to step up and make the change to non-lead ammo. We should be the leaders in conservation – not the foot draggers.
In 1991, President George H. W. Bush banned the use of lead ammunition for the hunting of waterfowl. At the time, there was overwhelming evidence that the ingestion of spent lead shotgun pellets was killing thousands of waterfowl each year. Hunters, the first conservationists, led the charge for this change.
There is now overwhelming evidence that many bald eagles and other raptors are dying from lead bullet particles that they have eaten from gut piles and unfound deer carcasses. You can put your head in the sand and say – “Oh they might be eating lead paint, or maybe lead sinkers that are in fish.” Really? How many lead sinkers are in fish? There is about as much likelihood of them ingesting lead from a source other than hunter bullets as eagles going to a junk yard and eating pieces of lead pipe.
I happen to live within a few miles of a wildlife rehabilitator, Centre Wildlife Care. Just recently the eighth bald eagle that they have treated for lead poising died. Seven of the eight eagles treated last year died.
In 2017, I purchased a box of 20 Federal .270 ammunition loaded with copper bullets. Yes, it cost more than lead ammo, but after sighting in at the range and killing a couple bucks, I still have over a half-box remaining. So, my “extravagant” purchase of copper ammo has cost me a few extra cents per year.
At the range – it took only a few shots to determine that at 100 yards the copper bullets hit within a half-inch of my .270 lead bullets. Since then, I have used only lead at the range – saving the copper for hunting.
In the field — I have harvested two bucks with copper ammo. In both cases — one a close shot and the other at over 100 yards — the bullets performed well, and the deer died after running a short distance. My buck from the most-recent hunting season dropped over within sight.
I am not a ballistics or bullet-performance expert, and my sample size of two hunter-killed bucks is only anecdotal evidence. If you go online, you will easily locate several studies where the performance of copper and lead ammo is compared. One study in England involved sharpshooters and more than 100 deer killed with non-lead ammo.
Negative publicity about lead ammo is not an assault on my right to hunt or bear arms, it is just factual reporting, common sense and switching would be good for the image of hunting. The Pennsylvania Game Commission supports the change to copper, too. What are you waiting for?
(Disclosure: As an outdoor writer, I was offered several boxes of non-lead ammunition from one manufacturer, for the purpose of testing, The caveat being that I had to state in my writing that I got the ammo for free. I declined their offer because I was afraid that doing so would take away from my message. I bought my ammo the same way that any hunter would.)