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Court rules Arizona hunters won't be banned from using lead ammo

Chris Parish
Peregrine Fund

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Arizona hunters won’t be barred from the use of lead ammunition even if the bullets left behind could result in the death of other animals.

The court rejected a bid from the Center for Biological Diversity to order the U.S. Forest Service to ban the use of the ammo on the Kaibab National Forest.

The three-judge panel unanimously ruled Friday that it’s the state’s job to regulate hunting even though the Forest Service owns the land.

The 2012 lawsuit argues that hunters who frequent the land that borders the Grand Canyon commonly use lead ammunition. They say lead can be left behind when an animal is shot and not retrieved or when a kill is “field dressed.” Another animal could then feed on the remains and ingest the toxic lead.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department asked hunters to use non-lead ammo in two game management units in the north Kaibab Forest and along the Arizona strip to help save condors in 2020.