A Parting Shot. It is traditional for a retiring U.S. President to issue pardons to any convicted criminals that he or she wants, no matter how controversial or self-serving the pardons are. The same goes for executive orders and directives to federal agencies. On President Obama’s last day in office he did plenty of all three. Here is one that flew under the radar of the national news media, but it is a vicious blow to American sportsmen.
On Jan. 19 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe issued Director’s Order 219, banning the use of lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle on all federal lands. The last-minute action revives an effort that the administration undertook eight years ago to ban the use of traditional ammunition. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting, and shooting sports industries, condemned the decision and issued this statement:
“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”
Director’s Order 219 requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately. Regional directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of lead in traditional ammunition and fishing tackle. It also ends the use of such lead products on federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states (like California) where traditional ammunition is already restricted. The order “expeditiously” bans traditional ammunition “when available information indicates” that lead is harmful to wildlife, without requirement of a scientific threshold on which to base that action.
In addition the Directive requires creation of a timeline to restrict traditional ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting (apparently nationwide). True sportsmen know that a “parting shot” is reckless and unethical, whether from a deer hunter or a politician. See the entire Directive 219 at https://www.fws.gov/policy/do219.html. President Trump, your turn.