Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lead shot issues may close another club, will the EPA close your club?

SAN DIEGO Shotgun Sports is temporarily closed due to shot-fall issues.

A major club. Offering Trap, Skeet, 5 Stand, Olympic Trap (2) & Olympic Skeet.

Much information on the clubs lead shot problem is gleamed from talk board postings. Let's see what we got!

A leased property on a military installation. Sited on property that has an unrealistic shot-fall zone.

The property line, designated with a fence reportedly 500 feet from some shooting positions, with lead reportedly falling beyond the fence.

Shot may also be falling on a creek bed.

With a 900 foot shot fall zone recommended, but some saying you can get away with 750 - 800 feet, 500 feet is not even close.

From my experience, those putting in the ranges at the time knew of the lead issue. I can't imagine a scenario where the subject of shot fall was not discussed, especially when the Olympic bunkers were built.

Why is lead now an issue and not at some point in the past?

Maybe friendly installation commanders in the past, an empty field and no harm done, an informal past agreement when the fields were sited, or no one actually checked and just assumed.

Well, now it's an issue...

Rumors abound. Permanent closure, shot curtains, relocate problem fields, close selected fields, renegotiated lease to include a realistic shot-fall zone.

The creek bed will be a problem, but hopefully the lease can be renegotiated to include the empty land where shot is landing.

Lets hope for the best!

If you think your club has any issues with lead, be proactive.

Lead falling outside your property has to be addressed. The adjoining property owner may not care now, but at some point will sell the land and the next property owner may require you to cease. No court will side with you!

Get out the maps, walk the property and confirm shot fall areas. National organizations generally uses 300 yard shot fall zones in regard to clay target shooting. It can be less, but if it's falling outside your property, you don't have a leg to stand on.

If it could go either way, the easiest thing to do is to take four or five tarps and lay them out on the property line that faces your shooting fields, to include the property facing those hard left and right shots. If lead is falling on the tarps, you have a problem. It may take a full weekend of shooting to get a good reading. Take into consideration the direction of the wind to test worst case scenarios.

Tournament shooting will see shooters pushing the limit on loads allowed (or not allowed) and may be the most realistic time to check for lead shot fall.

A more probable issue and most likely see EPA involvement...

Shooting over wetlands, or water runoff into wetlands or streams is nothing but trouble.

Runoff problems can be addressed. Shot falling directly on wetlands is most likely cause for a field to be closed and/or relocated. This has to be addressed, not ignored. It may be perfectly legal, but you must be proactive.

Is lead getting into the ground water?

Areas in doubt can be tested for lead contamination.

Do all ares where there is water have to be lead free? I don't know...

I suggest some serious reading is needed in regard to lead management and your club.

Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges

Lead Management at Florida Shooting Ranges

The Massachusetts Lead Shot Initiative

Michigan Dos and Don'ts for Shooting Ranges

You don't have to do it alone.

I don't know how involved the NRA is in regard to the lead situation, but The National Association of Shooting Ranges is an excellent resource.

An agreement of interest.

NASR, EPA Agreement Allows Range Anonymity in Environmental Certification

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