Lead Bullets Can Hurt Other Wildlife - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Lead Bullets Can Hurt Other Wildlife

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CODY, Wyo. -

Lead in bullets poses a danger to wildlife. With California becoming the first state to ban it, some want other states like Wyoming and Montana to follow. KULR 8's Penny Preston talked to two women who would like to see less lead used.

History was made when this eagle flew into the wild last May. She had lead poisoning, and could not open her talons, or fly when 26 year veteran raptor rehabilitator first saw her last year.

"She was the first successful release," says Susan Ahalt, Ironside Bird Rescue. She says she tried to save other eagles.

"I had a golden eagle that made great strides, then all of a sudden her system shut down. And she had to be euthanized. I had another that had it so severely, she died."

Susan Ahalt is also a hunter. Yet, she's ecstatic about California's new ban on lead bullets. She says people who shoot rabbits and prairie dogs and leave them, also leave poison for eagles.

"The bullets themselves fragment inside the animal and whatever comes along and eats it, will get that lead," says Ahalt.

Melissa Hill is the live Raptor manager of the Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience in Cody. She often tells her audience about the dangers of lead ammunition. But, she is not against hunting neither is Susan Ahalt, who is a hunter.

"Hunting benefits our scavengers and that's something we try to get across in our programs. Hunting provides extra food in the seasons that are most difficult for those birds," says Melissa Hill.

Both women suggest hunters use copper, or steel ammunition instead, even though both are more expensive than lead shot and some say less effective.

"The ban on lead ammunition in California is a huge step in the right direction."

"If anybody has watched an eagle suffer from lead poisoning, they would never, ever, use lead shot."

Lead ammunition was banned in 1991 for hunting waterfowl.