OPINION: Once again Mr Reiger (Southland Times letters, November 20) has indicated that all Southland duck hunters (excluding himself and his friends) are responsible for the maiming of the many hundreds of ducks shot at with 12 gauge steel.
Once again the point needs to be made - it is the hunters' fault, not steel shot.
These same hunters (many of whom have been shooting as long as myself) are the culprits. Mr Reiger should ask these same hunters what their cripple rate was with lead shot.
Fish and Game figures (supplied in 1999/2000) stated that approximately 7.5 per cent of the duck population died by ingesting lead in waterways. Can Fish and Game tell us now how many birds are wounded, unrecovered and eventually die after being shot at with 12 gauge steel? No they cannot. Have they tried to find out? No.
Do they acknowledge that this problem is killing more birds now than lead ingestion ever did? No they do not.
Mr Reiger and friends only shoot ducks coming towards them at less than 25 yards.
Perfect! They will have outstanding shoots. Do they never have to try to shoot a wounded bird on the water. How effective is steel shot then?
In the democracy we live in people have choices. If they choose to kill birds cleanly they have the right to use 20 gauge lead shot. Alternatively they can stick with 12 gauge steel and some find it satisfactory.
Mr Reiger would have us believe that the duck population will be destroyed by lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot.
Most Southland duck hunters believe that steel shot is responsible for the fast declining duck population in our province and country.
(Abridged - Editor)
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