Latest Updates on Hunt The West


Arizona Continues Voluntary Lead Ammo Reduction Program

February 1, 2008

The use of non-lead ammunition for hunting in environmentally sensitive areas has been in the news lately, especially in California. HTW discussed this topic in a January 2, 2008 update.

Below is the latest press release on this topic from Arizona Game and Fish.

From the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently agreed to continue the department’s voluntary lead reduction program aimed at protecting Arizona’s endangered California condor.

The commission was encouraged by the growing participation rate of hunters using non-lead ammunition during the 2007 fall hunt season. Surveys show that more than 80 percent of hunters took measures last year to reduce the amount of available spent lead ammunition in the California condor’s core range versus 60 percent in 2006.  

Lead poisoning has been identified as the leading cause of death in condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona. Studies show that lead shot and bullet fragments found in game carcasses and gut piles are the main source of lead in condors.  

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, and its partners the Arizona Deer Association, Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, and the Arizona Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, have encouraged hunters to continue sportsmen’s proud tradition of wildlife conservation by using non-lead ammunition in condor range (Game Management Units 9, 10, 12A/B, and 13A/B).

The department started offering free non-lead ammunition in 2005 to hunters drawn for hunts in the condor’s core range, which includes Game Management Units 12 A/B and 13A.  

While these efforts have significantly reduced the lead available to condors, challenges still remain. Access to non-lead ammunition poses limitations on the success of hunters’ voluntary efforts. Ammunition manufacturers were unable to meet the demand last year for non-lead ammunition, as well as it is not available in all calibers. Many hunters were unable to find the non-lead ammunition needed for their rifles.    

The condor is the largest flying land bird in North America. The birds can weigh up to 26 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 9 1/2 feet. Condors were first reintroduced in Arizona in 1996, and they now number 57 in the state. Visitors at the Grand Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs may be able to observe the birds, especially during the spring and summer.

For more information on condors and lead, visit

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