Project Gutpile Wants Lead Free Hunting

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The New York Times is running an op-ed piece by Anthony Prieto the founder of Project Gutpile a group that wants to see the end of lead in hunting bullets. The EPA has rejected attempts to ban lead in hunting bullets, but conservation groups are now suing the EPA to force a ruling.

I’VE hunted elk, deer and wild pigs in the American West for 25 years. Like many hunters, I follow several rules: Respect other forms of life, take only what my family can eat and the ecosystem can sustain, and leave as little impact on the environment as possible. That’s why I hunt with copper bullets instead of lead. We’ve long known about the collateral damage caused by lead ammunition. When bald and golden eagles, vultures, bears, endangered California condors and other scavengers eat the innards, called gutpiles, that hunters leave in the field after cleaning their catch or the game that hunters wound but don’t capture, they can ingest poisonous lead fragments. Most sicken, and many die.

Concerns over lead-tainted game meat have been brewing for awhile. Mr. Prieto fails to mention that non-lead based bullets tend to be considerably more expensive than those that are lead based.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, at least i can speak

Well, at least i can speak from the horses mouth on this one, since it's my current state that is starting this #$^@.

Look, there have been a few different scientists who have come out saying that this is bull. The amount of a condor's yearly food consumption that is based on animals that have been shot is very minimal in the first place.

Then, throw in the very small amount of lead that actually remains in the guts, and you have a low chance at actually ingesting any lead.

Also, after that study up in Michigan, Minnesota, wherever it was, was finally debunked when talking about hunters actually consuming lead in the meat of their animal. 

They only recommend something like 3 inches to be cut out around the impact site, or something like that.

As Jim said, if someone wants to do it voluntarily, fine.  However, Let's hope they do not force it on us by means of legislation.

As for performance, i have not shot anything with them yet, but I think it's almost evenly split on the issue.  Half the people think they perform just like a lead bullet, others think it is alot worse. 

I guess I will have to try and figure it out by shooting something with one, huh>

hawkeye270's picture

If you have not seen this

If you have not seen this coming for some time than you have not had your eyes open. As soon as the California condor information started getting published I kind of figured that we would be having this battle at some point down the road. Its apparent that the firearms industry did not have their eyes closed either. They must be predicting a ban because they have sure put a lot of lead free bullets on the market over the last couple years. If lead free bullets are going to be banned, atleast the bullet manufacturers have been perfecting the designs recently. I am not sure how long it is going to take but I really think we are going to see a ban in the near future. Lead has been used to fuel a lot of peoples livlihoods over couple hundred years on this continent but I think we are going to see an end of its use in hunting bullets.

Jim brings up an interesting points. Many people that do not like copper bullets cite that they are less accurate than conventual bullets. I wonder if there is something you could do to a barrel in order to make it work better with copper bullets.

jim boyd's picture

I do not agree with being

I do not agree with being FORCED to use a non lead bullet - but with copper bullets, I think part of the argument is that they do not shed much going through the animal, the way a lead and copper jacketed bullet will. Having said that, with copper certainly less lethal than lead, it if leave less copper than a lead bullet leaves lead - you are ahead of the game.

They have also proven to be fairly lethal on game animals - at least from what I have read about the Barnes X and seen first hand on whitetails in the south.

I posted recently about whether or not we were seeing the end of the lead and copper bullets and while it may not happen in our lifetime, it will likely happen.

I am all for not tainting meat that I will eat - which is a concern with a standard bullet...

I am also all for not allowing animals that do eat from the gutpile to get lead poisoning.

I wonder if a ground swell of support from within the ranks of hunters - supporting lead free bullets - would not be a great way to counter attack people that would force this down our throats?

It is rare indeed that the genie gets put back in the bottle - all copper bulleets will probably fall into this category before it is all over with.

To speak to the cost issue, as more manufacturers make these - and most major brands already do - the costs will come down - that is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

You have to know, also, that improvements in these bullets will be made as technology improves - I wonder if you might not even see a firearm with a barrel that was DESIGNED for an all copper bullet in the future - if there is such a marriage in which accuracy could be improved???

That might not be as far out in left field as you think.

Again, I am NOT for having anything mandated but maybe this is one we can work to our advantage and head the naysayers, anti-hunters and PETA freaks "off at the pass" and beat them to punch... on our own.

I know this line of thought is not going to be well received by some folks that know a LOT more than I do about bullets and hunting.... and these are just thoughts that MIGHT be a viable way to address the problem... I mean no disrepect to any other hunters or sportsmen out there.

My .02 worth!

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

If some people have their way

If some people have their way we will be back to hunting with atlatals. He thinks copper is safer? Show me a copper cook pot. All malleable metals have the potiential to be toxic. Steel won't fly either because they could pierce body armour. These people have one agenda that is to eliminate consumptive use of all natural resources.