Last week’s article on the bald eagle killed by lead poisoning in Fauquier County – as well as news of a second eagle in Manassas that died of the same cause – is a sharp reminder of the need to get the lead out of hunting ammunition. Lead left in the gut piles of deer too often poisons eagles and other avian predators including hawks, owls and ravens. Furthermore, there is growing concern about the potential human health impacts – especially to children – of ingesting meat contaminated by even tiny amounts of this lethal toxin.
This year at Sunnyside we switched from lead to solid copper bullets with no appreciable difference in efficacy. Specifically we used Barnes 270 Winchester bullets purchased locally at Trading Post Guns on U.S. 211. (Clark Brothers in Bealeton is another nearby source stocking popular calibers.)
While copper bullets cost more, greater demand is the best way to ensure that prices decrease over time. We hope that other property owners, hunters and gun stores will join us in making the switch. Rappahannock has a remarkable conservation ethic. Let’s build on it by working together to eliminate lead from our environment.
The Farm at Sunnyside
Nick Lapham owns The Farm at Sunnyside with his family. Eddie Fletcher lives on the property and has the hunting rights there. Sam Quinn is a biologist and the farm’s conservation manager.