Outdoor / Fishing

Thursday, Oct 17 2013 04:43 PM

STEVE MERLO: Lead ban based on fear, ignorance

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    12-year old local hunter Weston Tkac proudly displays the monster 5x5, 300-inch bull elk he recently shot on a New Mexico hunt with his father, Jon. The young man harvested the animal with a Remington .270 Winchester rifle at an incredible 340 yards.

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By STEVE MERLO, Contributing columnist

A quick word on the lead bullet ban signed into law by our illustrious Governor Brown:

1. Since there are no condors in Northern California, proponents of the statewide ban have lied to hunters, gun owners and the public about their anti-gun and anti-hunting intentions and agendas.

2. Lead in its pure form, like that found in bullets or fishing weights, is inert, and non-toxic and cannot be compared to lead found in chemicals. Lead in chemical form, such as that once discovered in some foreign paints or even toys, is and can be considered dangerous to all living creatures and should be banned.

But to ban non-dangerous pure lead based on inaccurate scientific data or heartfelt emotion based on ignorance is just plain wrong.

3. If the state bans lead bullets, then shouldn't it also ban cars with antifreeze, electric power poles and wind generating towers? Or the biologists that seek to enter condor caves and aeries to remove eggs and check on chicks? These other factors have, at one time or another, killed plenty of condors. If the law is not about gun control, then where's the fairness?

So what's a shooter to do?

I don't want to alienate hunters over the new non-lead law, but this needs to be said. Apparently, there are some rifles out there that do not have appropriate barrel twist rates to spin copper bullets accurately.

However, hunters like me have discovered the joys of shooting copper projectiles over the past few years in our modern era hunting rifles and can report tremendous successes.

As a matter of fact, I now prefer using copper bullets over the older lead ones for their sheer one-shot kill capabilities based on their accuracy, penetration, energy transfers and velocities. And, for the local radio talk show host that claimed otherwise, the non-lead hunting bullets I use do not "keyhole" on targets, nor do they start forest fires as he claimed on a recent show.

Military-type steel bullets can occasionally start fires, yes, and also need to be banned from hunting animals because they do not mushroom and can cripple wildlife rather than kill it outright. Non-expanding military-style bullets are designed to wound rather than kill, because it takes more people in the rear areas to take care of the wounded than it does to bury the dead.

KCCA Shoot

Be sure to put Nov. 2 on the calendar for the 7th annual Kern County Cattlemen's Association Sporting Clay shoot at 5-dogs Shooting Range. The popular event draws plenty of competition for prizes and the lunch and raffle are one of the best around. Get signed up by calling jay Hershey at (661) 703-4959 for this shoot, which will donate a portion of its funds to benefit The Friends of the NRA.

Sporting clay shoots

Here's a quick reminder to try and support at least some of the fundraising shoots already on tap.

Bikes for Bakersfield Ironman Shoot, Saturday, Kern County Gun Club; 40-teams only. Contact Mike Jones (661) 201-4132; Mike Brown (661) 619-9051 or Randy Harden (661) 201-0890.

Shoot to Run, 5-Dogs Shooting Range, Saturday. Benefits Kern County Sheriffs Office and Bakersfield Police Department Baker to Vegas Relay Teams. Contact Jenee at (661) 301-7436; Steve (661 )978-4060; Chris (661) 912-2283.

California Trucking Association Shoot, Nov. 2 at the Kern County Gun Club. Benefitting the Optimal Hospice Foundation. Contact Randy at (661) 323-4015; Tim at (661) 324-2031; or Cherie at (661) 716-8000.

Not that it matters, but ...

Saturday marks the opening day of the statewide quail and chukar seasons in the balance of the state. The limits are generous at 10 quail and six chukar per day and triple the daily bag. I do hope, however, that hunters will give the few surviving birds in our area, at least on the west side of the county, a break until the rains come next spring and replenish their numbers.

Duck season closes

While duck season in the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone closes on Sunday, the goose season opens and runs until Jan. 26 with an eight-bird limit, of which six can be dark geese. The second half of the waterfowl season in the SSJVZ reopens Nov. 2 and runs through Jan. 26. Saturday also marks the waterfowl opener for the remaining Balance of the State Zones.

 

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