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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
X Zone Mule Deer Hunting Forecase
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Hunting vs. wildfires

Now is the time to shoot up your lead ammo!
Now would be a great time to check out the old lead shot ammo that upland game bird and big game hunters have likely stored away for years. The lead ban regulation goes into full effect next July, and no lead-based ammo will be allowed for sport hunting. It’s been a number of years since lead ammo has been banned in the Condor range, at state and federal wildlife refuges and the latest ban covered all wild big game along with native chukar, turkey, grouse and pheasant.

OLD LEAD SHOT AMMO BOXES — Old shotgun shell ammo boxes make for great displays in gun rooms and man caves. This is part of the Niemiec collection of old shotgun shell cardboard boxes and wooden cases. The old art work on these shotgun shell boxes is really neat when set up on a shelf. Many of the older boxes from Remington, Winchester and Federal have a pretty high collector value. JIM NIEMIEC FILE PHOTO

Western Outdoor News checked in with Bill Gaines, president of Bill Gaines & Associates, whose profession is being a watch dog and communications specialist covering activities of the California Legislature, CA Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings and anything going on in Sacramento that would have any affect on hunting, sport shooting or pending new regulations relating to firearms, hunting accessories and ammunition.

WON asked Gaines to check on non-lead regulations that will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

“On July 1 of next year, non-lead ammunition will be required when taking wildlife with a firearm any where in California,” stated Gaines.

This hunting editor then asked Gaines as to whether he thought that perhaps there would an exception made by the CA Fish and Wildlife Commission for dove, quail and snipe hunting and the following was his response.

“It is a statute. As such the Commission doesn’t have that authority. Would have to be done by the State Legislature. As you know from my Special Reports, the past two years we have sponsored legislation that, if passed, would have given the Commission the authority to “temporarily suspend” the lead prohibition for those hunting seasons/calibers that ammo was deemed “reasonably unavailable,” said Gaines. (2017 AB 1544, & 2018 AB 3177)

Gaines went on to add, “With 70 percent of our State Legislature representing urban districts and with no background or real knowledge of hunting and its related conservation benefits AND many of those that voted in support of AB 711 (the Legislature that put the lead ammo phase-down in motion) in 2012 still in office, both bills died a quick death. We will, however, continue to educate the Legislature on why an avenue for relief of AB 711’s mandates is critical – especially in light of subsequent legislation and propositions passed which substantially restrict or fully prohibit internet/mail order or out of state purchases of ammunition by California residents.

So what options are presently available to shoot up lead shot ammo. Fortunately, Eurasian collared dove can be legally hunted all year long without any bag limit, quail season is set to open up on Oct. 20 and then there will be the second half of the dove season that is set to open Nov. 10. It’s not completely out of the question to hunt any of these smaller game birds with heavier lead and even copper plated lead shot. This hunter has often opted to hunt late season upland game birds with shot sizes from #6’s down to #4’s, of which, many are high-base loads. In fact, hunting with larger shot can often lead to more birds bagged by a single #4 pellet. Not too sure on what you want to hunt with heavier #1 or BB lead shot, except to hang on to these loads for self-defense use.

There is also the option of heading across the state line over to Arizona, where presently there are no bans on hunting with lead ammo other than on state and federal wildlife refuges and some adjoining lands. Arizona wildlife biologist Randy Babb told WON that the only restriction on hunting lead bullets is on the northern section of Arizona due to the presence of endangered Condors.

For those that will be hunting down into Baja or Sonora, Mexico and have registered a couple of shotguns, the Mexican government allows hunters to bring 100 rounds for each shotgun registered when crossing the border for the first time. According to Arturo Malo, outfitter for, gun permits are only valid for 90 days. There are three stores where additional ammo can be purchased that are located in the Mexican cities of: Tijuana, Mexicali and Ensenada. Gregg Shobe, who is the U.S. representative for Rancho El Coyote-Meling, 619-390-0905, which offers some of the best guided California valley quail hunting on Baja Norte, told WON, “Once in Mexico, hunters with gun permits can purchase additional shotgun shel

l ammo from Felipe Sierra’s sporting goods store in downtown Ensenada.”

Most shotgun and sporting clay ranges still allow the breaking of clay targets with lead ammo, but there are a few ranges that have already adopted the use of a non-toxic shotgun shell ammo.

The Tejon Ranch, (661) 724-1218, is totally restricted to hunting big game, upland game birds and small game animals with non-toxic shoot or large caliber bullets. This regulation, which has been in affect for a number of years, has not seemed to have had any adverse effect on the harvesting of elk, deer, coyotes, turkey or the various species of upland game birds hunted on this 270,000-acre working cattle and hunting ranch.

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