A day before the inauguration, the Obama administration took a final swing at sportsmen via Director’s Order No. 219. Signed on Jan. 19 by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Dan Ashe, the last-minute marching order directs the USFWS to expand the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on USFWS lands, waters and facilities—and for certain types of hunting and fishing regulated by the Service outside those areas—to the fullest extent by January 2022.
As explained by NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), the move outlines steps the USFWS will take—starting with using the anti-gun, anti-hunting crowd’s ploy that touts “science” and scare tactics to reinforce pre-existing policy goals regarding traditional ammunition. The order says, “The Service will continue to support targeted research to understand the human, fish and wildlife health benefits of using nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.” Of course, as ILA notes, should “science” reveal that non-lead ammo and fishing tackle cause their own adverse health effects would the public ever be told? In the meantime, as noted by the NRA, NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) and multiple other hunting and conservation-based organizations, antis continue to claim that traditional ammo poses a threat to wildlife populations and to those who eat the game harvested with it, and that its use on shooting ranges pollutes the environment despite that the EPA does not consider expended ammo at shooting ranges to be an issue.
Nevertheless, in establishing procedures and a timeline, the order also mandates:
Regional and assistant USFWS directors must work with states, regional state fish and wildlife associations, other federal agencies and tribes over the next 24 months to expand current state, federal and tribal requirements.
The USFWS must use “available information” on the negative impacts of lead ammunition or fishing tackle on “sensitive, vulnerable or Service trust resources” to justify “steps to expeditiously require” non-lead alternatives.
The USFWS Assistant Director for Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and the states, must “phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for the recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.”
“This action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources,” said Nick Wiley, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies(AFWA). The breach of trust, he explains, is “deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance.”
And there you have it—another attempt to sabotage sportsmen. At least when it comes to the outgoing Obama administration, it was the last. Considering this Inauguration Day marks the true era of “hope and change,” we hunters, shooters and fishermen can anticipate that the director’s order may be short-lived.