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Saving Our Avian Resources, SOAR is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1999 dedicated to saving our avian resources through raptor rehabilitation, education, and research. SOAR maintains all necessary US Fish & Wildlife Service and Iowa DNR permits to provide the rehabilitation and education.

Non-toxic Ammo and Fishing Tackle

At this time in Iowa, choosing non-toxic ammo and fishing tackle is still a personal choice. To help you learn about non-lead alternatives and to locate manufacturers please see the links below in alphabetical order.

SOAR does encourage all hunters and anglers to "go lead-free."

Jump to Non-toxic News and Notes

copper slugs

California Fish & Game Certified Nonlead Ammunition Information external link\

While this information is intended for those hunting in California condor habitat, this chart contains useful information and manufacturer contact information.

Click here for a March 2014 summary handout to print!

Catch It! Outdoors

Catch It! Tackle Company is the creator of the Eco-Jig lures and Tin-kers. Catch It! products are lead free and designed to achieve the best fishing experience for anglers now and for years to come. Generations of anglers and wildlife will benefit from these eco-friendly products.

Clark Armory

Clark Armory: Non-Toxic Shooting Supply, is a family owned and operated company that has grown in response to the steadily increasing demand for non-toxic ammunition and reloading supplies.

Dynamic Research Technologies external link\

This company produces lead-free, frangible bullets in proven calibers for hunting and law enforcement. If you hunt deer, elk, moose, bear with a rifle check this company out.

From their website: "We are conscious about the environment and with the trend toward lead free ammunition we are one step ahead of our competitors. Our core is encapsulated in copper just like others, but we use a core of powdered metal not lead. We start with a fine mesh powder to make the core (much like the mesh of face powder). Once completed you have a projectile with unheard of accuracy at distance with terminal ballistics ensuring your trophy is down where you hit them."

Green Tackle

Environmentally friendly fishing tackle! Be sure to check out their 'About Us' page for links to other great groups!

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Let’s Get the Lead Out: Non-lead alternatives for fishing tackle external link\

Information about how lead-based fishing tackle causes harm to wildlife, a two-page flyer encouraging folks to "Get the Lead Out," and a link to a directory of companies offering non-toxic tackle alternatives.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation - Ammunition: Non-lead or lead?

This page gives information to big game hunters and meat processors and includes tips and information for using non-lead ammo.

Raptor Education Group, Inc. lead sinker exchange info external link\

This site lists nonlead tackle suppliers and manufacturers, both national and in or near Wisconsin.

RockyBrook Sinkers

Check out the original limestone fishing sinker. From the RockyBrook website: "All anglers care about the outdoors. It's where we spend our time. Bottom line, RBS are safe for people, wildlife and environment. No need for warning labels on RockyBrook Sinkers."

TomBob Outdoors

Environmentally friendly, lead-free products for the serious outdoorsman. Products include fishing lures, traditional muzzleloading roundballs and inline sabots, shot, and frangible bullets. The editor of Black Power Magazine and an NMLRA champion shooter tested the traditional ITX roundball, read the report here.

Wisconsin DNR encourages hunters to "Give Non-toxic a Shot"

Wisconsin DNR has produced an informative brochure about non-toxic shot. Download the brochure and share with your friends and family that hunt. Rest assured, Wisconsin is not the only state where you can find non-toxic shot. Look for steel and other non-lead shot alternatives at your favorite sporting goods retailer. Also, look for copper slugs, sabots, and bullets now for deer season. This 2012 brochure is about 3 mb.


Check this out!

Below are the photos from a white-tail deer that a friend of SOAR shot with a 12-gauge copper slug during this hunting season. The path of the slug was tracked... and the slug went through the near shoulder blade, through the body, through the opposite humerus, and lodged under the skin. Photo at left, you can see the slug just the skin. The middle photo shows the hole made by the slug. The final photo is of the mushroomed slug.

slug just skin

hole from slug slug


The photos in the slideshow below are from a trail camera focused on a copper muzzleloader slug-shot deer gut pile. This nice safe gut pile! This gut pile was placed out in the open. See the difference between who feeds here and who feeds from Pete's pics below where he put the gut pile under the forest canopy.

Can you identify who enjoyed a non-toxic meal? Encourage all hunters and anglers to hunt and fish lead-free!


Non-toxic News and Notes for More Learning

Ocean Mysteries: Plight of the condors

This clip first aired on 2/7/15 and is now on Hulu... sorry there are ads... Steve Corwin and crew visit the Ventana Wildlife Society condor recovery area in Big Sur, California. Watch and learn about testing these big birds for lead exposure and chelation treatment.

United Nations Environment Program meeting

The Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals adopted a resolution urging the phase-out of lead ammunition in all environments over the next three years, and agreed to guidelines to prevent the risk of poisoning of migratory birds. The meeting was held November 4-9, 2014 in Quito, Ecuador.

The Convention on Migratory Species is an environmental treaty, administered by the United Nations Environment Program, which meets every three years to set the global conservation agenda. Although not legally binding, its resolutions have great weight and constitute a set of important, science-based declarations on wildlife management issues.

Make the switch!

Watch this segment from Itasca Community TV (Minnesota) of Just Outdoors - Copper Bullets that talks about ballistics, shot placement, human and wildlife health, and three shooting demonstrations.

The Case for Copper: Research uncovers problelms with lead bullets for deer hunting

Check out this article from the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer - the Minnesota DNR's publication in September-October 2013.

USFWS Region 3 bald eagle lead exposure research

The research done by USFWS Region 3 staff and researchers is summarized in these three articles:

Back to top of News

Research paper on non-toxic ammunition product availability, price, effectiveness published

The product availability and retail prices of different calibers of lead-free bullets and center-fire rifle ammunition were compared to lead-core rifle ammunition were compared. Product effectiveness was also reviewed. Paper from 2012. Download paper. (292 KB PDF)

Hot Line on Copper -- 10/12/2012

Dave Carlson, host of Northland Adventures on Wisconsin WQOW, did a segment about Wisconsin workshops designed to help the hunter learn about the properties of copper bullets.

Non-toxic shot required for dove hunting in some (Kansas) areas

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has put an emphasis on building dove populations in wildlife areas. The population has increased so much that KDWPT commission decided to get some statistics to help determine if a health hazard existed from lead shot. Read the article in the Pratt (Kansas) Tribune to learn more.

The Non-lead Hunter

This video is produced by a Southern California hunter. Please note this video is 23 minutes long, but well worth it!

Fragmentation of lead ammunition in hunter shot game is a source of concern for hunters like Anthony Prieto. Lead is toxic to all living things and when left behind in the gutpiles of field-dressed animals, it remains as a source of toxicity for scavenger wildlife like eagles, ravens, and condors. In this video, Anthony takes us on two hunts, one where lead ammunition is used and another with a copper bullet. Both carcases are radiographed in the field and we get to see why lead ammunition is such an issue. Produced by Anthony Prieto for hunter awareness on the issue of lead ammunition. Also available in Spanish.

The Non-Lead Hunter - Anthony Prieto from Anthony Prieto on Vimeo.


American Fisheries Society Policy Statement on Lead in Sport Fishing Tackle

This statement from October 2012 defines the issue and lists policy and other needed actions. (251 KB PDF)

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Health Risks in Lead-Based Ammunition

Scientific experts in lead and environmental health have published both a consensus statement and an editorial encouraging the reduction of lead-based ammunition used with the eventual elimination of lead-based ammunition.

Association of Avian Veterinarians announces position statement

The Association of Avian Veterinarians RECOGNIZES that lead is a potent toxin to wild birds that can have individual-and population-level effects. Therefore, the AAV advocates the replacement of lead-based sporting ammunition and fishing tackle with non-lead alternatives.

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Check out this article in their bi-monthly conservation magazine about choosing non-lead ammunition (October 2012 edition) for your deer hunt - the best part, this guy walks that walk and is the Chief Wildlife Biologist! external link

Also see this state's information about non-lead ammunition. external link

Lead poisoning a hazard for birds of prey

This is not an Iowa issue, it is not an upper Midwest issue... scavengers eat lead in gut piles or from shot, yet never found animals. Read this story from CTV in Calgary, Alberta (11/29/12).

Lead poisoning in eagles worries researchers

Check out this CBCNews article about researchers testing eaglets blood lead level on Prince Edward Island to gather data to estimate what lead levels eagles are born with, 6/20/12) external link

Back to top of News

Oregon Public Broadcasting report from Oregon Field Guide -- Condors and Lead external link

Learn about the captive breeding program at the Oregon Zoo and about the Yurok Tribal hunters (northern California Tribe) that encourages the use of non-lead ammunition.

A review of Federal Premium Trophy Copper Shotgun Slugs on US Shooter website. external link

Copper bullets in the news... It's about accuracy!

Minnesota deer hunting: Copper bullets gain support - Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 10/27/12 external link

The Case for Copper - Minnesota DNR Conservation Volunteer magazine, Sept-October 2013 external link

Article in Whitetales summer issue interviews hunters using copper

If you don't know of any hunters that have used copper ammunition for deer hunting, read this article! The authors interviewed 8 Minnesota hunters that used both rifle and shotgun with slugs to harvest deer... some for many years. (1,252 KB PDF)

National Park Service biologist and area hunters test copper hunting ammo

Check out this page where hunters compare the performance of lead and non-lead bullets and also discusses the potential impacts of lead bullet fragmentation on wildlife and humans. external link

National Park Service Public Health Project

Read about innovative outreach materials created at Pinnacles National Monument about non-lead hunting ammunition. external link

First Nations, Canada, support use of non-toxic ammo

Helene Van Doninck, DVM, from the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre external link (read this rehab center's blog about lead poisoning from spent ammo external link) in Nova Scotia recently spoke to a First Nations conference about the impacts of lead-based hunting ammunition on wildlife. The video below is from a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news cast where a local tribal wildlife law enforcement agent was interviewed and supports the use of non-lead ammunition:

Hunter's federation takes aim at lead ammunition

Check out this Chronicle Herald news article about local hunter's federation encouraging members to use non-lead alternatives in their hunting ammunition. external link

Yeah to them for taking this stand!

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North American Falconers' Association

NAFA has released a position statement on lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle. Read the statement on Fly Rod and Reel's Blog from May 28, 2012. external link

Report about hunters voluntarily using copper bullets!

Craighead Beringia South, located in the Jackson, Wyoming area has been testing blood lead levels of ravens and eagles before, during, and after hunting season at the National Elk Refuge and finding donors to help fund the voluntary use of copper bullets for the elk and bison hunt (i.e. give to interested hunters). Read the full article that was printed in the winter 2012 edition of Jackson Hole Magazine and learn the exciting results.

Wander on over to the Craighead Beringia South website to learn more about their non-lead ammunition program. external link

The Wildlife Society final position statement on lead in ammunition and fishing tackle (45 KB PDF)

As the leading scientific and educational organization representing and serving wildlife professionals, The Wildlife Society (TWS) has a responsibility to carefully analyze local, regional, national and international policies, and human activities that have the potential to impact wildlife and their habitats, in North America and beyond.

Izaak Walton League of America passes resolution...

At the League's annual convention in July 2011, a resolution was passed encouraging the use of non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Click here to read the full resolution. external link

Raptor Research Foundation supports use of non-toxic ammunition

The Raptor Research Foundation is an international, scientific society whose primary goal is the accumulation and dissemination of scientific information about raptors world-wide. external link

Read the RRF position statement written in July 2011 in support of non-toxic ammunition for hunting and refutes the claim of "no credible science." (645 KB PDF)

Breckenridge (MN) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League Takes Action!

A resolution on lead bullets, shot, sinkers, and jigs was passed by the Breckenridge Chapter on March 8, 2011 and passed by the Minnesota Division of the Izaak Walton League on April 9, 2011. Download and read the complete resolution (531 KB PDF). Check out their website!

Central Iowa radio station daily poll about lead shot

KNIA / KRLS Radio Station in Knoxville / Pella, Iowa has a daily viewer poll. Below is the poll and results from May 15, 2012. No this is not a scientific poll... but station staff reported that this poll received more total votes than most polls.

Governor Branstad has overruled his appointees to the Iowa Natural Resources Commission, determining that lead shot can be used in dove hunting. Is the use of lead shot a good idea?

  • No, lead shot should be banned (71%, 115 votes)
  • Yes, lead shot is OK (29%, 47 votes)

Total voters: 162

Eagles getting sick on food they eat

While this is an old article (3/1/2010) from Native Village Youth and Education News, it is still relevant today. external link

Lead cuts short flight of some Minnesota bald eagles

A 2008 story from Minneapolis Star-Tribune. external link

Tackling toxic tackle: Minnesota Conservation Volunteer external link

This May-June 2003 article still hits home almost 10 years later... with the issues of getting the lead out of our recreation pursuits.

Getting the Lead Out external link\

This 2001 National Wildlife Federation article: Lead fishing tackle kills loons; with no national policy to fight the problem, conservationists are convincing anglers to switch to nontoxic alternatives.


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