Bourjaily: Thoughts on Lead Bans

We never saw bald eagles when I was kid, but they're a common sight along the Iowa River now that they no longer feed on DDT-laced fish and lead-poisoned waterfowl. While a lot of hunters will disagree with me, I really believe lead bans are not secret back-door attacks on guns and hunting but are acts of genuine, well-intentioned concern for the environment.

To the guy on the street, a lead ban is a no brainer: lead is toxic, we banned it in paint and gasoline, we may as well get rid of lead bullets, too, especially since there are green alternatives. Our guy on the street neither knows nor cares that non-toxic requirements raise the cost of hunting.

That said, any increase in price - even a $1 rise in hunting license fees - prices some hunters out of the field. Complex regulations and restrictions drive casual hunters from the sport as well.

The latest lead ban, in California, is supposed to protect the endangered California condor. As this column by Jim Matthews, who hunts all over the Golden State, points out, no matter what the intention of lead bans, they wind up forcing hunters out of the field.