N.Y. to study nonlead ammo to benefit eagles

The state is recruiting hunters for a multiyear study

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting a study to see if using nonlead ammunition in hunting can lead to a reduction in bald and golden eagle deaths.

The agency is seeking hunters to participate in a multiyear study conducted with the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University, the U.S. Geological Survey and Conservation Science Global.

“Hunters in North America are the backbone of wildlife conservation and often help lead the charge in numerous wildlife management success stories like the restoration of white-tailed deer and wild turkey,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release.

Eagles can ingest lead bullet fragments when scavenging the remains left behind after a hunter field dresses a deer. While bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) numbers have climbed, researchers have found that lead-related mortality has slowed that growth.

To help recruit hunters in select wildlife management units to participate in the study, research partners are offering rebates for certified non-lead ammunition and participation in pre- and post-hunt surveys.

Read more from the DEC.

Header Image: A bald eagle appears along the Hudson River in upstate New York. Credit: Bill Morrow