“I am calling about the article about the ground squirrel problem on Sept. 6. You gave incorrect information to the caller who lives in San Martin telling him he cannot shoot lead shot. That is not true. Anywhere west of Highway 101 in Santa Clara County you can still use lead shot. I’m a hunter and I would know.”
Red Phone: Dear On The Other Side, You are indeed correct, well partially correct. The boundary for Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act, which limits what areas lead ammunition can be used in, extends down U.S. Highway 101 to near the San Benito County border.
From the west side to the coast, lead ammunition is allowed, but on the east side hunters must use the non-toxic ammunition that the Department of Fish and Game biologist mentioned in response to the original caller. So that means folks who live in San Martin are split in the ammunition they can use. Most of Gilroy and Morgan Hill can still use the traditional projectiles.
Bill AB 821, which went into effect in 1998, was designed to reduce lead poisoning California condors, one of the top causes of death. It applies to both public and private land. The regulation doesn’t include target shooting or pellet rifles. Fines are $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $5,000 for the third. Being that there are only about 400 of these birds in existence, we should do our part to protect them. To read more about the law, visit dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/ condor.