Hunters funded eagle recovery
Sunday, February 4, 2018
The Daily Reflector’s recent article “Bald eagle dies of lead poising” paints a dire picture of single bald eagle brought into Cape Fear Raptor Center in Rocky Point. The illness and death of an eagle is distressing to hunters who value wildlife. However, it is misleading to warn hunters that their activities using traditional ammunition pose the greatest threat to this national icon.
In fact, hunters have been on the leading edge of bringing eagles back to North Carolina and the rest of the United States.
More than $12 billion dollars has been paid through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax supported by the sale of firearms and ammunition since 1937. That funded recovery efforts to allow federal authorities to take bald eagles off endangered species list in 1995 and threatened species list in 2007. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. As recently as 1983, there were no bald eagles flying over the Tarheel State. In 2015, the Wildlife Resources Commission counted 192 nesting pairs calling North Carolina home, from the coast to the mountains.
We all want to ensure healthy eagle populations. Blaming hunters and their ammunition is unneeded and potentially detrimental to ensuring we continue to see sustainable eagle populations soaring in our skies.
Lawrence G. Keane
Senior vice president and general counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation