In past years, the coupon for free non-lead ammunition was mailed with the hunt tag. However, this year, the department has been working to expand its network of retailers that will accept the coupon to better accommodate hunters. In addition, now a limited supply of the most common ammo will be available for coupon redemption at the Phoenix and Flagstaff department offices (note: it will not be offered for regular sale).
Coupons will be mailed to effected hunters soon and hunters are encouraged to buy their non-lead ammo soon to avoid possible supply shortages.
Hunters can choose either one box of loaded ammunition or one box of bullets for reloading their own ammunition with the coupon. There are multiple non-lead ammunition manufacturers to choose from, as well as several available calibers and grain weights.
Hunters in Arizona have proven their commitment to wildlife conservation in the past six years with 85 to 90 percent of hunters in Arizona’s condor range voluntarily using non-lead ammo during their hunts or, if they used lead ammunition, removing the gut piles from the field.
This year, Game and Fish is reminding hunters that if they have trouble finding non-lead ammunition, they can still support condor recovery by removing gut piles from the field that were shot with lead ammunition. Hunters that remove their gut piles (lead ammunition only) will be eligible to be entered into a prize raffle.
Lead poisoning has been identified as the leading cause of diagnosed death in endangered condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona and southern Utah. Studies suggest that lead shot and bullet fragments found in animal carcasses and gut piles are the most likely source of lead exposure. Many hunters do not realize that the carcass or gut pile they leave in the field usually contains lead bullet fragments. Gut piles from animals harvested with non-lead ammunition provide an important food source for the condors and should be left in the field.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which coordinates condor management with Arizona Game and Fish, has also recently implemented a lead reduction program in southern Utah to address the birds’ more frequent foraging in the state.
For more information on condors and lead and a list of available non-lead ammunition, visit www.azgfd.gov/condor.