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Loon Preservation Group Calling for Restrictions on Lead Jigs in NH

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June 30, 2011

Loon Preservation Group Calling for Restrictions on Lead Jigs in NH

By Chad Love

The ongoing controversy over the sporting applications of lead is dominated by the issue of non-toxic shot and rifle bullets, but the debate over lead-based fishing weights is gathering steam. In the latest on that front, a New Hampshire loon preservation group is calling on the state to place further restrictions on lead jigs after they say a dozen threatened loons in the state died last year after ingesting lead tackle.

From this story on boston.com: 
A New Hampshire group working to preserve the state's threatened loon population says a dozen of the birds died last year after ingesting lead from fishing tackle. The Loon Preservation Committee said seven loons died from lead sinkers and jigs that are currently banned under state law, but five other deaths were linked to longer lead jigs that remain legal under state law. The nonprofit group's executive director, Harry Vogel, told the Concord Monitor that the current law doesn't go far enough to protect loons, which have been declared a threatened species in New Hampshire. Vogel says there were about twice as many loon deaths in 2010 than in previous years. There are an estimated 275 pairs of loons in the state. Sport fishermen have opposed stronger limits on lead in tackle.

Your reaction? Is the argument for banning lead-based fishing tackle stronger or weaker one than the arguments for and against lead ammo? Would you be more willing to give up lead-based fishing tackle or lead ammunition?

Comments (10)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

I have given up lead fishing gear. The difference between lead fishing gear and lead big game ammo, is there is SIGNIFICANT data that shows the harm lead left in the water does to waterfowl, etc. Thats why lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting. There is very little data that shows lead big game ammo left in the environement is detrimental. I know in California, they banned lead ammo is areas with the Condors, but even then, I think it was a knee jerk reaction to an overblown problem. Aren't more Condors get killed running into power lines than any have from ingesting lead? Lets get rid of power lines!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JBgrouse23 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Agreed. I have also tried to give up lead products. Having lead in any environment is bad news. Shooting ranges and centers have huge concentrations which eventually break down into small pieces and work there way into water supplies and environments. The jigs are no different. Leaving one at the bottom adds lead to the water, which over time will poison something.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

I've incorporated non-toxic sinkers into my fishing gear. Not a big deal and seems the least I can do for loons that live in my local waters. I am considering doing the same for big game bullets, since so many high quality copper bullets are on the market. I've seen eagles, golden and bald, on my gutpiles. Hate to think I'm poisoning these birds inadvertently, even if they aren't an endangered species. Hunters and anglers get riled up about regulation, maybe the focus should be on education.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Altamont Pass Wind Wind Resource Area windmills kill an avg of 67 golden eagles each year according to field biologist Doug Bell speaking to the LA Times. I will bet ocean based windmills will do a job on loons in the ocean too! I'm glad most of us still can make a choice as to wether or not we use lead in our fishing tackle. Too bad we don't have a choice as to wether or not green power is going to kill wildlife in every habitat in which it is placed. Green power is inefficient, expensive, and immoral.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aferraro wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Did these birds actually die from lead poisoning, or are they assuming the lures killed them? CA used junk science to ban lead ammo and it sure seems like anytime industry or government wants to make something 5-10x more expensive they find an excuse. I know of a sporting clays station that shots over a quarry- literally millions of pellets put into the water every year. If government wasn't totally inept someone would test that water there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bennyp22388 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

It seems like most sportsmen believe animals that suffer from lead poisoning do so only through accidental ingestion and/or water contamination. I would like to point out that with birds, a lot of lead poisoning cases are a result of intentional ingestion. Many species of birds swallow rocks and pebbles to hold in their gizzard for the purpose of grinding food to aid in digestion. Many birds will swallow lead sinkers and lead pellets, mistaking them for rocks. In reality, secondary contact with contaminated gut piles and fish are not the biggest sources of lead poisoning in birds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

how do they know it was lead sinkers that killed these birds? looks like CA all over again. just another attack on hunters and fishermen!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Diffence in fishing lead and lead shot for duck hunting. A good day of duck hunting could put pounds of lead in very small pieces spreadin shallow water. A bad day of fishing I would say most people lose less than an ounce of lead in a couple of large chucks. Also Jigs? If a bird eats a jighead it could be made of the concentrated hugs of hippies but it still has a hook on it which will kill anything that managed to get it down its throat far enough to choke or tear open the digestive system.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sd_kid wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

[q]from aferraro wrote 1 day 20 hours ago
Did these birds actually die from lead poisoning, or are they assuming the lures killed them? CA used junk science to ban lead ammo....[/q] And, jamesti's comment, summarizes my concerns. There are far too many wacko pseudo scientists, promoting junk for their own warped reality.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Topper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Give the loons the benefit of the doubt and use non-lead tackle. How hard is that to help the planet?

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

I have given up lead fishing gear. The difference between lead fishing gear and lead big game ammo, is there is SIGNIFICANT data that shows the harm lead left in the water does to waterfowl, etc. Thats why lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting. There is very little data that shows lead big game ammo left in the environement is detrimental. I know in California, they banned lead ammo is areas with the Condors, but even then, I think it was a knee jerk reaction to an overblown problem. Aren't more Condors get killed running into power lines than any have from ingesting lead? Lets get rid of power lines!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JBgrouse23 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Agreed. I have also tried to give up lead products. Having lead in any environment is bad news. Shooting ranges and centers have huge concentrations which eventually break down into small pieces and work there way into water supplies and environments. The jigs are no different. Leaving one at the bottom adds lead to the water, which over time will poison something.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Altamont Pass Wind Wind Resource Area windmills kill an avg of 67 golden eagles each year according to field biologist Doug Bell speaking to the LA Times. I will bet ocean based windmills will do a job on loons in the ocean too! I'm glad most of us still can make a choice as to wether or not we use lead in our fishing tackle. Too bad we don't have a choice as to wether or not green power is going to kill wildlife in every habitat in which it is placed. Green power is inefficient, expensive, and immoral.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Diffence in fishing lead and lead shot for duck hunting. A good day of duck hunting could put pounds of lead in very small pieces spreadin shallow water. A bad day of fishing I would say most people lose less than an ounce of lead in a couple of large chucks. Also Jigs? If a bird eats a jighead it could be made of the concentrated hugs of hippies but it still has a hook on it which will kill anything that managed to get it down its throat far enough to choke or tear open the digestive system.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

I've incorporated non-toxic sinkers into my fishing gear. Not a big deal and seems the least I can do for loons that live in my local waters. I am considering doing the same for big game bullets, since so many high quality copper bullets are on the market. I've seen eagles, golden and bald, on my gutpiles. Hate to think I'm poisoning these birds inadvertently, even if they aren't an endangered species. Hunters and anglers get riled up about regulation, maybe the focus should be on education.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from aferraro wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Did these birds actually die from lead poisoning, or are they assuming the lures killed them? CA used junk science to ban lead ammo and it sure seems like anytime industry or government wants to make something 5-10x more expensive they find an excuse. I know of a sporting clays station that shots over a quarry- literally millions of pellets put into the water every year. If government wasn't totally inept someone would test that water there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bennyp22388 wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

It seems like most sportsmen believe animals that suffer from lead poisoning do so only through accidental ingestion and/or water contamination. I would like to point out that with birds, a lot of lead poisoning cases are a result of intentional ingestion. Many species of birds swallow rocks and pebbles to hold in their gizzard for the purpose of grinding food to aid in digestion. Many birds will swallow lead sinkers and lead pellets, mistaking them for rocks. In reality, secondary contact with contaminated gut piles and fish are not the biggest sources of lead poisoning in birds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

how do they know it was lead sinkers that killed these birds? looks like CA all over again. just another attack on hunters and fishermen!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sd_kid wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

[q]from aferraro wrote 1 day 20 hours ago
Did these birds actually die from lead poisoning, or are they assuming the lures killed them? CA used junk science to ban lead ammo....[/q] And, jamesti's comment, summarizes my concerns. There are far too many wacko pseudo scientists, promoting junk for their own warped reality.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Topper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Give the loons the benefit of the doubt and use non-lead tackle. How hard is that to help the planet?

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment