Government fired first shot

Last updated 11:33 19/12/2013

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OPINION: The attack on Southland Fish and Game from Neil Hayes, of Carterton, (Dec 17) over the ban on lead shot is unfair, ill-informed and inaccurate.

Firstly it was not a decision by Southland Fish and Game to ban lead shot. 

That decision was made by the Government, which required the New Zealand Fish and Game Council to prepare draft regulations to phase out the use of lead shot for game bird hunting close to water.

The concept was first raised by Forest and Bird and was based on a significant body of reliable science which showed the impact of lead ingestion by waterfowl in America and other countries.

The change to non-toxic shot was phased in over five years, in consultation with regional fish and game councils, with few real difficulties but a lot of dire predictions which never eventuated. 

Secondly, to claim that up to 50 per cent of ducks shot with steel are wounded and not retrieved is preposterous, and suggests that anyone with that result should not be shooting game birds.

From personal experience over more than 50 years of shotgunning, there is more variation in the average hunter's ability with a shotgun than the lethality difference between lead and steel shot.

With the quality of present day steel shot loads, I am among many who not return to lead of it was allowed, and I spend more days out shooting than most. 

TOM O'CONNOR

Timaru

Former Department of Conservation national co-ordinator for the transition to non-toxic shot.

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