Today sees the publication of Dick Potts’s book on partridges. I have reviewed the book for Birdwatch so you’ll have to wait to see that for my overall assessment. But I was interested to see that lead shot came up in the index a few times. I hadn’t realised that partridges sometimes suffer from accidental lead ingestion in a similar way to wildfowl.
Dick’s book took me to the website of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation which states on the subject of alternatives to lead ammunition:
‘In 1983, the UK’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in its report on lead recommended that lead shot be withdrawn as soon as alternatives became available. This recommendation eventually led to the phasing out of lead fishing weights that were accidentally ingested by swans and to the switch to non–toxic shot in wetlands in the UK.
The latest steel shot meets most demands and is the cheapest material. It is widely used in many countries for shooting waterfowl and game-birds with ample evidence that its use is not associated with elevated levels of wounding. Copper bullets are frequently used for hunting deer and other mammals in many parts of Europe and the USA, they are generally available and there is no sound evidence of serious problems to human or wildlife health, or safety and efficacy.’.
Remember – this is a bunch of bunny-hunters not bunny-huggers.