DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Iowa lawmakers, going against a national trend, say they will allow lead ammunition for dove hunting in the season set to open Sept. 1.
Environmentalists and wildlife experts have been locked in a nationwide battle with hunters and gun groups over whether hunters should be permitted to use traditional lead shot and bullets.
Two-thirds of U.S. states have some form of ban on lead ammunition, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Environmentalists say lead poisoning is a threat to eagles and other animals that feed on remains of birds killed with lead shot.
Hunting advocates argue that attempts to ban lead in favor of steel, copper or other non-traditional materials is actually a move to curtail hunting and gun ownership.
“Generally steel shot costs a lot more than lead, so they use it to discourage hunting,” Michael Faw of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance said.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said the state’s Natural Resources Commission had overstepped its bounds in its attempt to ban lead ammo for the dove-hunting season.
Liz Garst, an ardent hunter who has served on the commission, argued for legislators to uphold the ban on lead shot.
“The public understands that lead is dangerous,” Garst said. “If we hunters persist in saying that we are exempt from the environmental problems of lead, we hunters are going to get a black mark in the public’s eye.”