Lead shot – where are we now?

Lead -ammunition

Today marks the first anniversary since the publication of the joint statement to moving away from using lead in shotguns to shoot game. To mark the occasion the organisations and the cartridge manufacturers have issued this joint statement.

In addition to this the Environmental Research Institute has published a report to judge how effectively the sporting community has reduced the use of lead in the past year. As you might have seen reported in newspapers and on TV, of the 180 pheasants they dissected 179 had been killed using lead ammunition.

In its conclusion, the paper’s seven authors note that “some UK shooting and rural organisations have begun to implement educational activities” and they highlight the work of the GWCT and other organisations in doing so. Importantly, they highlight a GWCT survey in which the majority (53%) of those polled said it was time to move away from lead shot. We are keen to understand how attitudes to lead shot are changing, so please complete this quick survey.

The report also highlighted three talks aired at our GAME 2020 conference, which have been viewed a combined 6,800 times on YouTube. We decided to make these talks freely available to the public in order to improve awareness and provide accessible expert information on the topic. The most popular was an important insight from John Gregson of Waitrose, explaining the retailer’s stance on lead shot. There has also been considerable interest in the views of Niels Kanstrup on life without lead shot in Denmark, and Simon West’s talk examining the ballistics of lead and steel.

If you would like to read more on the topic, you can visit our lead ammunition hub.

In order for us to raise awareness, we need to understand the intentions of those whose have the real power to make change – those buying the ammunition. If you can, please complete our short, anonymous survey. It takes less than a minute – but your answer will help inform this hotly debated topic.

Take our survey >

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Lead shot

at 9:55 on 28/02/2021 by Mike Tilbrook

If there was a credible alternative to lead I would change to it. However at this time there doesn’t appear to an alternative that delivers the same accuracy be it with shotgun cartridges or rifle bullets that also performs the operation of efficient kills. Many of my Dutch friends and clients moan about the many times that they have had to despatch wildfowl after Bismuth had failed to kill cleanly. Whilst I read with interest that all but one pheasant out of 180 had been shot with lead pellets by a Cambridge research team surely they would be better employed finding what residual lead was present once the pellet(s) had been removed. Has anyone died of lead poisoning after eating game ?


at 20:04 on 26/02/2021 by Peter WALLACE

I have been shooting for the past 50 years with an occasional game shoot, on invitation been taken. I have noticed, probably along with a large number of game shooters, and syndicate shooters that the large shoots, (large estate shoots and paid day shoots) seem to have sat back and let the main shooting support organisations take the flack for the lead shot debacle,(which, if the truth be known have let the shooting fraturnity down by not standing up to the cartridge manufacturers and policy makers.) If all of the shooters involved in the large shooting days, paid days, and estates were to stand together against Wild Justice for all the damage caused by their action to the farmers, their livestock and livelihood there would be sufficient funds gathered to deter Wild Justice from taking any further action. I heard recently that the cost of cartridges will be increased by 10%, but did not make it clear whether that would be lead or steel cartridges? I thought lead cartridges were to be phased out in the next four years, so how can they justify the increase? If it is for lead cartridges nearly all of the shooting personnel in the UK is trying to get rid of their lead cartridges? It is unfortunate that as I approach the end of my shooting years, I have to reel in my enthusiasum to continue with the enjoyable days spent in a wood, or decoying due to the indecision of so called experts as to how much more they can take the people on the lower rung of the ladder of shooting for a ride. It is now a them and us situation, those that enjoy their shooting and those who can afford the large amounts charged to shoot. All my guns, rifles and associated equipment is now being subjected to an assessment for a forthcoming sell up due to misguided direction. If there is to be a future for the next shooting generation someone will have to get their act(s) together.

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