NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
Our mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
It's mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
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An Ill-Wind Toward Sportsmen

Regrettably, in responding to a newspaper column that cited wind turbines as a cause of bald eagle mortality, a wind energy spokesperson misleadingly claimed that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters and illegal shooting were doing greater harm to the species than its equipment.

Stories about eagle mortality usually have more to do with emotion than with science. The key point missed in the discussion is that the issue of eagle mortality is being overstated by the media and environmental groups given that bald eagle populations are soaring. The species’ recovery from dangerously low population levels throughout much of its range is a great conservation success story. In 2007 the bird was removed from the endangered-species list because its populations had recovered sufficiently, and today the species’ conservation status is one of “least concern.” So whatever the unfortunate causes of incidental mortality, such as collisions with power lines or the giant blades of wind turbines, the species is doing very well population-wise.

The decline in bald eagle populations was not caused by hunters and target shooters using traditional ammunition made with lead components. In fact, just the opposite it true. The excise tax dollars raised from the purchase of traditional ammunition by hunters and shooters has helped to fund the eagle’s recovery and to pay for wildlife conservation in general.

We do not doubt that the wind energy industry, like many other industries and individuals, is concerned about conservation.  But whatever the merits of energy generated by wind turbines, deflecting blame onto hunters and shooters neither strengthens that industry’s defense in the matter of eagle mortality or wins advocates among the shooting sports community. Rather, it will only embolden groups like the Center for Biological Diversity to launch more nuisance petitions and lawsuits, whether to ban  traditional ammunition made with lead-core components or possibly to halt wind-farm projects.

To put the entire bird mortality matter in perspective, the following chart shows that lead ingestion is a minor cause of avian mortality.

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3 Responses to “An Ill-Wind Toward Sportsmen”

  1. Venice Neon

    Who was the spokesman for the wind energy industry and where was the article posted?  this spokesman needs to be called out on their mistake… if it was a mistake

  2. Larry Bailey

    This is another log on a fire that needs to be put out with quenching truth and publicity.  The social media is empowering emotional, irrational, unsubstantiated, and irresponsible big mouths who get popularity and momentum from “going viral” before any respectable, reputable information can tell the other side. 

    Journalism history will record these times as the “dark ages” of integrity.  We outdoor professionals are taking the brunt of the attacks, since anti-gun, anti-hunting, and anti-game animal population engineering throngs can sit in city high-rise apartments, in front of television and computer screens, and chirp in as a mob with unsubstantiated opinions about the wilderness.  Anyone who is paying even passive attention to the health and numbers of the bald eagle knows the species is not only back from extinction, but is thriving and growing its population.  Only politicians preying on dumb city slicker emotions would try to trump up the toxic shot opposition mob.

    Like the passenger pigeon, that went extinct because of the lumbering depletion of the white pine nesting habitat and not the inaccurate irrational blame on human killers, the bald eagle (and all raptors), and the wolf need substantiated scientific support of biologists and truthful reporting of their successes.  Not the loudness of social media tripe and their “Like” button.    


  3. Larry Keane

    The comment referred in my blog was by John Anderson is director of siting policy for the American Wind Energy Association.