On Sept. 3, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received a petition from a number of environmental and conservation groups requesting that the DNR initiate rulemaking to:
Ban the possession and use of lead or other toxic fishing tackle on Minnesota waters located within the common loon range;
Prohibit the taking of wild animals within Minnesota while possessing or using bullets containing lead or other toxic materials; and
Prohibit the taking of wild animals within Minnesota with shotshells other than those loaded with steel shot, copper-plated shot, nickel-plated shot, zinc-plated steel shot, or shot made of other nontoxic materials approved by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
After consideration of the petition and review of more than 20 years of data and stakeholder input related to this subject, the DNR issued a decision denying the petition.
The DNR based its decision on multiple factors, which are detailed in a Decision and Findings of Fact document available at mndnr.gov/hunting/ammo/nts.html. These factors included limitations in the DNR’s rulemaking authority, the petition’s lack of data concerning the impact of the proposed rule, the lack of demonstrated broad stakeholder support and the DNR’s conclusion that -- consistent with the approach taken in most other states that have imposed similar restrictions -- potential restrictions on the use of lead ammunition and tackle should be considered by the Minnesota Legislature.
While the DNR has denied the petition for rulemaking, the agency believes the human health and environmental impacts of lead ammunition and tackle do warrant further study and discussion.