Anyone else have a case of the Monday insanity hit their desk? This is what hit the HEVI-Shot office this morning….someone was using our Hog Wild product on a feral hog hunt that mandated non-toxic shot. Of course who else would you pick but us for that job? When the field detection device failed to register our zinc/steel balls in our hog wild shell the regulation officer automatically thought that it was lead. Our phones and emails blew up which prompted this letter from our CEO to Hagerman NWR.
Thank you for your letter.
The large balls in our Hog Wild product are zinc, not lead. A game warden using a Hot Shot inspection tool will read a zinc ball as a lead ball, because the Hot Shot device cannot presently discriminate between zinc and lead. This comes straight from Dennis Dorando, the inventor and producer of the Hot Shot device. We have worked with Dennis, providing samples and so on, since we started in 2000. I am copying Dennis on this email, should you wish to talk with him directly.
Dennis will tell you that the device may read copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc, and several other metals as lead, too. The reasons are technically complicated, and he can explain them, but they basically have to do with tradeoffs involved in optimizing his device to distinguish bismuth and tungsten-based shot from lead.
Our zinc ball contains no lead, regardless of what the Hot Shot device reads. It is nontoxic, in the sense that it contains no lead, and is substantially safer for aquatic and terrestrial life than copper (used in nontoxic bullets), according to the EPA’s Freshwater Aquatic Toxicology data.
Here is a subtlety of the “non-toxic” designation:
For bullets and slugs, anything “non-lead”, e.g. copper, guilding metal, steel core bullets, etc. is “non-toxic”. In California and elsewhere, for bullets and slugs,
non-lead = non-toxic
This is not true of the non-toxic designation for waterfowl. Copper is not approved as non-toxic for waterfowl, for example, because in very small concentrations it kills various aquatic species. Copper bullets are considered non-toxic for hunting on federal and state lands, but copper shot is not approved as non-toxic for bird hunting.
Zinc is orders of magnitude less toxic to aquatic species than is copper according to the EPA, and (in my judgment, with 4 approvals) would pass the USFWS/EPA Tier 1 and Tier 2 screening for non-toxic approval.
Since bullet and hunting loads that are non-lead are “non-toxic”, we designated Hog Wild as non-toxic. If we wanted to make zinc birdshot, we would have to go through the USFWS approval process in order to call it non-toxic.
From this discussion, I would ask you to inform future hunters that our Hog Wild shot is non-toxic zinc – which is true – and allow them to use it on your hunts. At a minimum, please don’t prohibit it for the wrong reason, that you thought the balls were lead, when they are not.
In honor of the insanity we decided to banish the craziness by having a giveaway on our Facebook page! Go check it out at https://www.facebook.com/hevishotammo